At the request of Advance Adairsville, a community-minded nonprofit, the Adairsville Development Authority approved Tuesday a lease of the Jackson House for use by adult-education classes for students pursuing a GED certificate.
Classes are expected to begin next year with support from Chattahoochee Technical College. Due to sponsorship from local industry, courses will be provided at no cost to students.
The motion was put before the Adairsville Development Authority on Tuesday by authority chairman Tom Calhoun, also a member of Advance Adairsville.
“A local company is going to underwrite the entire cost for the program,” Calhoun said. “There will be no cost at all for the students and the hope is that this will be the first step to providing more adult education services down the road.”
In addition to initial costs, contributed by an Adairsville company wishing to remain anonymous, other area businesses will help get the program off the ground, including carpet from Godfrey Hirst to protect the home’s hardwood flooring.
“This project appears to have a lot of support from industry in the community, which is important to us from an economic development standpoint,” said authority attorney Boyd Pettit. “That’s part of why the authority undertook the Jackson House project to begin with.”
The idea of improving adult education resources for Adairsville was first brought to attention by Mayor Evan King and the need was later re-emphasized by Commissioner-elect Steve Taylor and his experience on a recent economic development trip to Japan with representatives from across the Southeast, including Governor Nathan Deal.
“We had a meeting of Advance Adairsville a while back and during the meeting our Commissioner-elect Steve Taylor talked about a recent trip to Japan,” Calhoun said. “They visited some Japanese companies that had located here and he asked the president of one of the companies and he said, ‘The biggest need we have is a good, educated workforce and before we can expand in Bartow or anywhere else, the No. 1 priority is that there be a good, educated workforce.’”
The program will likely run three nights a week with one instructor and 12 to 20 students. Advance Adairsville will be seeking donations from area businesses in hopes to expand the program. In its second year, organizers would like to add a second instructor and increase the number of students served.
“This is a way for the community and local business to get together and really accomplish something,” Calhoun said. “It is critical for the programs to be where the students are, particularly with $4 gasoline and not everyone has cars. So the closer the program is to the people who need it and want it, the better it will do. And there was a program in Adairsville several years ago run by Chattahoochee Tech, but through budget cuts they had to stop. So it’s never really been a question of ‘do we need it?’ It was, ‘How can we get it going again?’”
The Adairsville Development Authority also looks forward to getting greater use out of the Jackson House. Used as a venue available for public rental, the Jackson House has seen only sporadic use in recent years. An issue this summer with the HVAC system coupled with disuse of the facility led to extensive mold growth, which has since been remediated.
“It’s a good use for the property and gets it used on a regular basis,” Calhoun said. “We realized after this summer’s mold episode that it’s really important to have it used continually. You just can’t have a house that sits idle most of the year, that’s just an invitation for trouble, especially in an old house.”
More information on the program and enrollment will become available as it develops. For more information as it becomes available, visit www.chattahoocheetech.edu/prospective/adulteducation.