The Jackson County Board of Education approved the purchase of the spec building and 30 acres of land located in the Jackson County industrial Park at its meeting Thursday night. The board purchased the building and land in Hollywood for a total of $850,000.
County Schools Superintendent Kevin Dukes said the new building will house professional development and career technical programs for Jackson County students. He said if the board was in agreement, he would also like to move the central office there as well.
“There are so many things we can do,” said Dukes. “Our number one priority right now is to get it ready to get our folks ready for the workforce.”
Board Member Charles West was the only member to vote against the purchase.
“I don’t think the community has had enough input. I think the people that made the decision, the supervisors and the board members, should get the community involved,” said West.
West also said the board needed to get the City of Scottsboro involved before the county starts building a new $30 million technical school.
“I don’t think the county can afford it,” said West. “I don’t think we have enough students in the county to afford that. It’s way too much money.”
“I think it’s a big day for Jackson County, period, not just Jackson County students,” said Dukes.
He believes that when they are in the industrial park with the building and can offer workforce development and career technical programs, it will help recruit industry to Jackson County. Dukes said he wants to help Jackson County students get good jobs. Dukes said he has spoken with Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and let him know that he wants some of those jobs in Huntsville to come to Jackson County.
“I think we’re on the right track,” said Dukes. “Our kids need the same opportunities as other kids in the state, and I believe this gives them a level playing field.”
Board President Chad Gorham was excited about the purchase.
“It’s a good building in a good location,” said Gorham. “It’s definitely a move in the right direction. There’s a lot of potential there for our kids and Jackson County to benefit.”
He said they would be able to do a great deal of things there that will benefit Jackson County students lime expanding programs to bringing in dual enrollment.
“This was a huge night for the board of education,” said Board Member Mike Matthews. “I’m excited for the future of our kids, school, staff and communities as we move forward with the new technology center.”