MUSCLE SHOALS — School district and city officials, along with other dignitaries and students, attended a ground-breaking ceremony Friday on the site that will be home to the new center for technology.
Expected to open in January 2014, the new eight-program facility will replace the 40-year-old center off Wilson Dam Road.
Center Director Gary Dan Williams told those in attendance that the new facility will ultimately aid in filling a gap that’s been present in the workforce.
“It’s about thinking ahead and doing what it takes to encourage students to seek high-demand, high-wage jobs,” Williams said. “This will give our future workforce a competitive advantage in this area. A well-trained workforce is the key to the Shoals area’s economic development.”
Krebbs Architects, of Birmingham, is in charge of the project along with Carbine Construction, of Florence.
The facility will be adjacent to Muscle Shoals High School. The project will cost $5.9 million, with the school board using $3 million from its capital reserves and another $2.9 million from a bond.
The Muscle Shoals City Council has agreed to support the endeavor by paying up to $200,000 annually toward the bond service. The board of education will pay $305,000 per year. Included in the bond issuance is upgrades to safety measures at all schools and the addition of a new indoor athletic facility. That accounts for $5.1 million of the $10 million bond.
Gary Warren, a former state school board member and advocate for career technical education, told the group what’s being done in Muscle Shoals with the state-of-the-art facility “will help restore career tech to its proper place in education.”
“This is an awesome achievement for this part of the state,” Warren said.
Superintendent Jeff Wooten said the project has been a while coming to a physical reality.
“This community expects a great school system, and this is a major part of it,” he said.
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.