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Exit 17 welcome sign could be finished in July
A welcome sign, set to be placed off Interstate 985 at Exit 17, is a joint effort between Oakwood, Gainesville State College and Lanier Technical College. The sign, shown in an architectural rendering, a will feature the names of the city and colleges. - photo by For The Times
A new electronic welcome sign off Interstate 985 at Exit 17 could be completed in July, Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown said.The partners in the effort — Oakwood, Gainesville State College and Lanier Technical College — were hoping for completion by this Friday, or before Gainesville State President Martha Nesbitt’s retirement after leading the college for 14 years.But the work involved, including getting funding together and the digital sign ordered, created an unexpected delay.Construction is taking place off site and is about 90 percent complete, Brown said.“By the end of the week, (workers) will be doing the foundation work on the site,” he said. “We did a little site work, to get it prepared, as far as leveling it out a little bit, a couple of months ago.”The project initially was an effort between just Oakwood and Lanier Tech.“The reason it started off that way is because (Lanier Tech is) kind of in the back side of the campus and ... they wanted (Exit 17) to be the front door to Lanier Tech,” Brown has said.And then Gainesville State joined the effort.Gainesville State is the more visible of the two campuses, with the heavily traveled Mundy Mill Road and Thurmon Tanner Parkway as its bordering roads.The sign, which will be off Thurmon Tanner at Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway, will feature the names of the city and the colleges.It won’t gain permanence until January, when North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega and Gainesville State will be under one name, University of North Georgia, as part of consolidation efforts.An architectural rendering for the sign shows a stacked-stone foundation, 19-foot-wide aluminum arbor and electronic message board.It also depicts space for the Oakwood and colleges’ logos.Overall, the sign, which costs about $75,000, will stand about 35 feet wide and more than 10 feet tall.The plan is for the colleges to use the sign’s message board to publicize key announcements, such as registration dates, and Oakwood to advertise city-sponsored events.