Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Gwinnett Tech Looking at Old Milton HS

by: Hatcher Hurd

BOE makes bold offer to woo Gwinnett Tech

December 22, 2010ATLANTA – In a Dec. 16 letter to Sharon J. Bartels, president of Gwinnett Technical College, Fulton County Superintendent of Schools Cindy Loe made a dynamic offer of a partnership with the Fulton Schools System.

Knowing Gwinnett Tech is looking for a place to expand in North Fulton, the Board of Education is prepared to offer all or part of the 40-acre site of the former Milton High School on Academy Street in Alpharetta (valued at $10 million) for Tech's North Fulton campus.

Bartels came to North Fulton this summer seeking such offers from the communities – in effect looking for ways to defray the cost of such a campus. Bartels had hoped for 100 acres, but the hope is the school could make do with 40 acres.

In return the BOE would like office space and classroom space in a no-cost, long-term lease arrangement. Loe also argues persuasively that a Gwinnett Tech would find a good fit with the BOE's Fulton Institute of Technology, a new initiative integrating the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"The Fulton Institute of Technology is a technical high school that fuses practical and virtual learning opportunities to create a technology-rich learning environment," Loe wrote.

The appeal of such a course of study would be to offer students the chance to be either college or career ready on graduation.
Co-locating with Gwinnett Tech would provide students a direct track into Tech's programs, and conversely, would create a convenient feeder system of students into Tech – a symbiotic relationship that could enhanced with dual enrollment classes much like Advanced Placement which gives students college credit for work done in high school.

With journeyman or apprentice relationships with technological courses such as Energy Systems, Digital Design Technology, Manufacturing and CISCO Systems, Fulton Institute students would already be dovetailing into courses Gwinnett Tech offers.

The BOE is studying plans for the demolition of old Milton and construction of a new facility. The BOE is offering to convey all property rights to Tech in return for it undertaking the costs of demolition and environmental mitigation.

Fulton Schools would also want the classrooms and office space in a new facility built by Gwinnett Tech and access to amenities as parking, public green space and other instructional space.

Preparatory to construction, the BOE would offer space in the existing facility to give Gwinnett Tech the chance to begin building a base of students in North Fulton at a "nominal cost" while the school designs and phases in construction of the new building.

Loe said the BOE's offer could be combined with other inducements both public and private that Gwinnett Tech is seeking to enable it to open a North Fulton campus.

The campus would be a plum for North Fulton, and Gwinnett Tech knows it. Likewise, North Fulton knows it is Tech's first choice for a site to expand its campus. Bartels, in making her pitch to North Fulton a few months earlier, said their evaluations show North Fulton would be a "student-rich" environment that would help it serve the highest number of Georgia residents.


Anonymous said...

How long has Hatcher Hurd been in Alpharetta? He should know the former Milton High School is not on Academy Street.

Anonymous said...

How come the BOE wasn't willing to displace all those kids to build a new high school for the area, however, is willing to sell to Gwinnett Tech? Gee those kids don't matter anymore? Would have made more sense to put the new Bethany Road HS at that location, since they already owned the property and would have saved money off the bat right there.. They'd of had to pay to demolish and environmental abatement however that had to add up millions of dollars less than purchasing the bethany road property for what was it, around 11 million? Easy to spend money when it comes out of other peoples pockets. When are the taxpayers going to demand more input on how the BOE spends our money and how they use our tax dollars when purchasing land for schools? think about how many teachers could have not been furloughed and how the band and orchestra program could have remained in our schools had they been more frugal with our money. Our fault for not holding these people accountible.

Tim Enloe said...

2:33, I totally agree. The FCBOE has been acting without worry regarding those who fund them for many years now.

Instead of thinking outside the box and being conservative with the tax payer's dollar, they continue to waste millions of dollars on obnoxious projects without cause.

The real loser here is the City of Milton. Not only did seven families get kicked out of their homes for the "New" Milton High School which ate up 70 acres of "rural character", the city has not recieved one dime of property tax. Similar still is the new high school under construction on Cogburn. A school that sits on only 44 useable acres of that the city would have eventually been able to generate tax revenue off of. Note that the old campus sits on 40 and the there is only one high school within Alpharetta City limits.

So we have over 100 acres of land just with these two schools with zero tax revenue or payment for improved infrastructure coupled with little retail over all and it makes for bad comedy.

No one is against public education. Folks are just tired of hearing the powers that be cry poor mouth and then do what they do. Time for this train to stop and a new engine put in motion that has to answer to those paying for the coal.

Tim Enloe
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Tim, you should be a teacher or a cop.

Anonymous said...

If they had built the new school at the Old Milton High, they wouldn't have purchased the 100 acres up the road for 13 million and for sure they wouldn't have purchased the Bethany site for what another 9-10 million and they already owned all the property the Old school sits on which is the same acreage of the new Bethany HS site, plus due to the economy there is additional land surrounding the old school right now that could be picked up dirt cheap. Think of all the money that could have been saved by just building a new high school at the old school site. What was the resistance, why did they not do this, it seems so logical. Could have kept a lot of programs in our schools that have been sliced and diced, and educators and support staff had they done that.Why? Are they not building more schools here to redistrict and shuffle more kids from other cities, so that location would have been much closer for the needs of Alpharetta and Roswell over the Bethany location? Or does the city of Alpharetta just not want to give up Milton HS to Milton residents after Milton became it's own city? Somewhere there had to be underlying presssure to move another Highschool north, but why when the demand is coming from other cities not us? Tim can you explain this, anyone?

Anonymous said...

Did not David Chatham own the property at Bethany Bend and Cogburn Road?