Warner Robins signs over land for military training center

mstucka@macon.comMarch 11, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- The city formally transferred to the state on Tuesday a 40-acre site that will be turned into a $10 million Gateway Center to train veterans.

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms said the center will be a great thing for the community, particularly in how it will help veterans.

“This educational center will give them an opportunity to earn another skill” that could keep veterans in the community,” Toms said after signing the deed.

The 50,000-square-foot facility is intended to help veterans and current military members find jobs, transfer academic credits and enroll in colleges and technical schools.

The center, also known as the Military and Academic Training Center, is planned for a site at the end of Wall Street and adjacent to Ga. 247. That location is not far from Russell Parkway, and lies roughly between Huntington Middle School and the Monsoon restaurant.

The site is covered in scrub brush, with no signs and few surveyors’ stakes. Gary Lee, director of economic development for Warner Robins, said the site won’t be directly accessible from Ga. 247 because of difficulties in getting another crossing over the railroad that parallels the highway. However, the site is already accessible from Wellborn Road, which connects to Wall Street, and the city is looking to add connectivity from Armed Forces Boulevard past Memorial Park.

Groundbreaking is expected in September or October, according to an earlier statement by a Board of Regents spokesman. Parrish Construction of Perry will build the facility for about $7 million, with JMA Architecture of Perry designing it and Parramore & Quinn Inc. of Snellville handling the program management.

The former city property was assessed at $1.28 million.

Toms said he was only there to sign the deed, but all credit for the project goes to the previous mayor and City Council and Central Georgia Technical College President Ivan Allen. Allen, former mayor, and current Councilman Chuck Shaheen, former councilman Mike Daley, and Houston County Commission Chairman Tommy Stalnaker were among the officials at the signing.

Toms said he expects the Board of Regents will vote next week to accept the property.

Telegraph archives were used in this report. To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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