Am I the only one that is shaking their head and asking "where did the idea come from to relocate Lanier Tech?"
I had not heard of anything concerning this until the March 8 news article The Times had with Gov. Nathan Deal where he stated we need to look at Hall County for the possibility of moving this school. It was not in his budget and I haven’t heard of any studies by the local board or the state board that said we were in need of additional space, much less to relocate.
Then, less than one month after the governor’s statement, there appeared the $10 million in bonds and additional money in the budget that I would presume would cover the first year of debt service for the bonds.
Lanier Tech is the No. 1 one technical school in the state. We can give most of the credit to the fine faculty and staff. But one of the main reasons is it is located in the fastest growing part of Hall County and is close to the fastest growing counties in the nation with Gwinnett and Forsyth counties. It is located convenient to Jackson County that is growing as well.
Also the taxpayers invested better than $80 million on the new Interstate 985 Exit 17 interchange as well as two new four-lane roads that connect two interchanges to University of North Georgia and Lanier Tech.
The governor’s office gave a response for the addition of the money to the budget: "They had outgrown their current property."
Evidently this person has not seen this site. There is land on both sides and behind the school.
The property where the tech school is located shows on the tax documents as owned by Gainesville-Hall County. This is a tract of 141 acres. The state of Georgia owns 35 acres. The Gainesville Foundation owns 75 acres, which I would presume was the land donated by Johnson & Johnson. Some of this land is wetlands but there is a lot of it that could and should be used.
There is no doubt the buildings need renovating, updating and possibly some additions. But a study needs to be done and a lot of public input heard before this school is moved.
There may be a better place that would be worth the expenditure, but we have no idea where it may be. I would not try to guess the total costs to relocate. To my knowledge there is no information available.
If the money is to be spent wisely and the taxpayers get their money’s worth, there should be. Most businesses ask questions like why, what, where, when and how before they locate or relocate their business. These questions need to apply in this situation.