Sumter Development Authority, Sumter County Schools celebrate land closing

Published 9:30 am Monday, June 12, 2017

AMERICUS — The Sumter County Development Authority (SCDA) joined with the Sumter County Board of Education to host a joint land closing ceremony for the site of the new Americus Sumter High School. With recent approval for construction in ESPLOST, the Sumter County School board will move forward with constructing a state of the art facility designed to build a pipeline of community leaders and workers for generations to come. Located along South Georgia Tech Parkway, and across the road from South Georgia Technical College, the new facility will provide easy access for students completing courses through dual enrollment programs such as Move on When Ready.
Sumter County Development Authority Chairman Paul Hall began the program by welcoming attendees and acknowledging the monumental day for Sumter County. The formalizing of the land sale laid the foundation of endless opportunities for generations to come. “Opportunities that provide benefits to business, industry, our k-12 and higher education partners, and most importantly our students. The impact a new facility and programming directions will have on all students, from Americus to Leslie, Desoto, Plains, Andersonville, and any others who want to join, is immeasurable,” he said.
Hall continued by sharing the significance this one initial action signifies.  “… We all know a strong workforce is the backbone of any community. The workforce, or more importantly the individual people, are what make a community live and breathe. The people work at jobs, raise families, volunteer in the community, worship together, and lead together. Creating a space that provides all services and resources necessary to equip future generations of students to be the workforce and leaders is the greatest, most important task of any community. But it is not only a task, it is a responsibility to be taken very seriously.”
Many community leaders gathered a few months back and determined the best choice to be made for Sumter County was to take this step, evolve past plans for industrial developments, and make an investment for our students. The Sumter County Schools Property Committee, including Rick Barnes, Jim Reid, Dr. Michael Busman, and Meda Krenson, spent considerable time reviewing options, coordinating with partner entities, and making bold decisions for the betterment of all.
Hall concluded his remarks in sharing that as chairman of the Sumter County Development Authority, he could wholeheartedly say the Authority could not be more proud of this opportunity to work in partnership with Sumter County Schools. “When economic developers and educators work together, our possibilities are endless,” he said.
Following Hall, Dr. Michael Busman, Sumter County Schools Board of Education chairman, thanked the attendees and all partners for working together to make the land acquisition possible. Students from Americus Sumter High School, who are rising sophomores and will be the first graduating class from the new facility in 2020, shared their enthusiasm and appreciation for school and community leaders, and their anticipation of learning in an environment that will present many more educational avenues.
John Watford, Ed.D., president of South Georgia Technical College, and Charles Patterson, Ph.D., interim president of Georgia Southwestern State University, spoke as well. Both highlighted the strength and leadership evident in the community when partners work together to have a stronger k-12 system, which prepares students for programs at both higher education institutions.
Following remarks, members of the Sumter County Development Authority and Sumter County Schools Board of Education gathered on stage to sign the final documents, conveying the property to Sumter County Schools.