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Sweet Briar College looking ahead to new year with new students

Sweet Briar College excited about the new year (Katie Brooke)

AMHERST Co., Va. (WSET) - Sweet Briar College is ready for the new school year. Everyone is hopeful it will be bigger and better than the year before.

Last year at this time, students and faculty thought it would be their last.

"I think we are all very excited and energized by the fact that students are coming back to Sweet Briar and it is just a spectacular campus and we are just so excited to welcome them, the students are excited to be here and faculty and staff are excited to have them and it's just a great time of year," said Vice President of Enrollment Management, Bill Allen.

Allen said the number says it all. Last year there were barely 30 new students on the once doomed campus.

But this year, nearly 200 new students will walk these sidewalks, boosting the total enrollment to almost 400 young women.

"We can accommodate more students and I think for Sweet Briar that is the intent," said Allen.

Professor in Engineering, Bethany Brinkman says she left the school after the announcement it would be closing. "It was like having your heart ripped out, because teaching at Sweet Briar, it's a commitment, it's what we all love to do as faculty and staff and it's truly a family, so to have that taken away was very hard," she said.

Brinhkman taught at James Madison University last year, but says she looked to come back as soon as she heard the doors would remain open. "I wanted to come home and I wanted to come back to Sweet Briar," she said.

"This year, I feel really confident that things are going well," said second-year student, Corin Diaz.

Students are proud of how far they've come. "It just showed how strong we really are, it really did," said first-year Victoria Lawson.

Students will continue to move in this weekend and classes start next week. Enrollment is still open, so it's not too late to sign up for classes and attend this fall.

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