Photo of the sinkhole soon after it appeared. Photo by Sydney Doss.

On Tuesday, February 23, shortly after 2 p.m. a sinkhole appeared in the middle lane of the Faculty Parking Lot.

At 3 P.M. an email from ABAC Police was sent out, stating, “Please be advised that the lower middle section of the faculty/staff lot between the Donaldson Dining Hall and Carlton Center will be blocked off and closed for repairs until further notice. Please park as far away as possible from the orange traffic cones to allow traffic flow to leave the parking lot.”

At 4:33 P.M. another email was sent out warning that “due to ongoing maintenance, the Dining Hall Parking Lot will be closing this afternoon and will remain closed until further notice.”

Faculty and students were told not to drive vehicles to the Dining Hall Parking Lot during this time.

That night an officer in an ABAC Police truck sat at the entrance of the parking lot to turn away anyone who drove towards the area. The truck’s blue lights flashed in dorm room windows until about 11 P.M.

Faculty were advised to park in the North Commuter Lot or the South Commuter Lot until the Dining Hall Parking Lot can open again.

In 2012, a sinkhole showed up between Shoney’s and the Ramada Hotel after beginning as a collapsed drainage pipe. According to a report from WALB, Tifton experienced 11 inches of rain which caused the sinkhole to grow and become more dangerous.

The repair on that sinkhole was the responsibility of the two businesses it was on due to them being private property.

Since February 1, 2021, Tifton has experienced about 9 inches of rain. Feb. 18 had the most in one day at 1.98 inches.

Neither of these numbers are as dramatic as the 11 inches experienced in 2012.

It is unclear if the past month’s weather had anything to do with this sinkhole.

The sinkhole has since been repaired as of February 25th, and the parking lot re-opened around noon.

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