DCSS considers expanding transportation facility

DCSS may be expanding their transportation facility

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County School System is hoping to expand one of its facilities. And district leaders are hoping to do it with Albany Technical College.

Superintendent Kenneth Dyer spoke to the Building and Grounds Committee on Thursday about possibly expanding the transportation facility. He hopes the expansion will create space for the school's buses and Albany Tech's diesel mechanics.

The school buses may be backing into a bigger facility one day. But for now, the talks of expanding the Dougherty County School System's transportation facility are controversial among committee members.

"I think this is a bad direction," said James Bush, a committee member.

The school system's transportation system is currently on Newton Road. But Dyer spoke of possibly building a bigger facility with hopes of creating a space that could accommodate the system's buses and Albany Technical College's diesel mechanics.

"We want to make sure we can do everything we can to consider moving our site to an alternate site to provide them with an opportunity to expand their program that is vitally needed in this area," said Dyer.

But Dyer's proposed alternate site was met with opposition at Thursday's Building and Ground's Committee meeting.

"I would definitely consider Newton Road. We've got the right of way, you know we've got the highway, we've got the interest and everything. All we need is probably a little more land," said Milton Griffin, a Board of Education member.

Dyer said he did originally hope to expand the current site, but the owners of the land next to it don't want to sell yet. Which means he is now looking at land next to Albany Middle School to build the bigger facility. However, other committee members said neighbors they've talked to in the area don't want it out there, and neither do they.

"I wouldn't want it in front of my house. Would anyone else want it?" asked Bush.

Dyer said this is of course something they would have to consider and speak to residents about. But, he said the whole community could benefit from the potential partnership between the school system and Albany Tech.

"Albany Tech is a vital partner of ours and the diesel mechanic program is vital to the economic success of this area for years to come," said Dyer.

Dyer said he does want to reach out to community members before any decisions are made.

The building and grounds committee also discussed Dyer's ongoing investigation into the controversial Sylvester Road Elementary School Project.

Sylvester Road Elementary was closed in 2012 and it is now being turned into an alternative school.

Dukes, Edwards and Dukes was chosen to complete the estimated $4.5 million renovation project.

But when it came time for school board members to vote to approve the company to do the job, half of the board members said they didn't feel comfortable approving the company after it was ranked last on the committee's checklist.

Dyer said the company was chosen because it had completed successful projects for the school board in the past.

Dyer still decided to do his own review into the choosing process before they go any further.

"That project was submitted to the board a few meetings ago and it did not pass. And I advised the board at that time I would do an internal review through our processes regarding that project and come back with a recommendation," said Dyer.

Dyer said he isn't ready to give that recommendation yet, but he said he hopes to finish his review and bring his findings to the board at their second meeting of the month.

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