Hall County soon could be home to the first education museum in Georgia.
The Georgia Retired Educators Association gained unanimous support from the Hall County Board of Education Monday to build the museum and the association’s headquarters adjacent to C.W. Davis Middle School.
The board approved the project in principal and likely will approve the sale of the roughly 2.4 acres by the school at the next board meeting in October.
Will Schofield, superintendent of Hall County schools, said the Georgia Retired Educators Association is planning to buy the property located at the intersection of Hog Mountain Road and Falcon Parkway from the school system for about $450,000. The museum will look similar to the adjacent middle school, Schofield said.
Richard Higgins, chairman of the Hall County school board, said the property has been for sale for at least the past three years, but the school system has been picky about selecting a buyer.
"I think it’s a good opportunity for us to have good neighbors," he said of the match with the teachers association. "We didn’t want a convenience store there that would bring a lot of traffic."
Bill Chandler, treasurer of the Georgia Retired Educators Association, said the museum will highlight the progress of education throughout the 20th century. The museum also will feature an educators’ hall of fame in which educators across the state may be inducted to acknowledge their contribution to teaching Georgians."We’re interested in putting more emphasis on education, and with the cooperation we’ve been getting from Hall County schools, it’s a good partnership," he said. "We hope to get a lot more interest by doing these kind of activities. We’re trying to think of everything we can in the world to recognize teachers and provide for the financial security of educators."
The Georgia Retired Educators Association has about 18,000 members and has been located in Gainesville since 1989, Chandler said. He said the organization currently operates from an office on Oak Street and has been looking for a new headquarters that has more visibility to the public, as well as about 5,000 to 6,000 square feet of space. Chandler said the agreement with the school system to use its parking facilities is a perk for the museum, and, in exchange, the school system has access to the building.
Chandler said pending the board’s approval of the sale next month, the association hopes to begin construction within the next two years and to move into its new headquarters within three years.