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Gov. Ivey presides at ribbon cutting for renovated National Guard, Career Tech facility in Geneva
by Maj. Andrew J. Richardson
Governor Kay Ivey presided over a ribbon cutting ceremony at the
newly renovated Alabama National Guard readiness center in Geneva,
Alabama, at 9 a.m., Sept. 19, 2017. The facility was originally opened
in 1956 and had been under renovation since December 2016.
The renovation project is the first of its kind to be completed in
Alabama. It was accomplished using federal, state, and local funds to
share costs and create savings for the Guard, the state, and local
school systems. The Alabama National Guard partnered with state and
local boards of education to renovate and expand the facility to meet
the needs of a National Guard unit and a new career technical center to
serve the Geneva area. By sharing common spaces, such as bathrooms,
classrooms, and parking, the partnership enables all the partners to
save money in construction and continuing maintenance costs in the
"This is a model for what can be done when you think outside the box
and break down those barriers, and pledge to work together help our
students be better citizens," said Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon, the Alabama
National Guard's top general.
During the renovation, the facility grew by more than 10,000 square
feet. Part of the growth space was paid solely by the school systems
and is sole-use for the career tech program, some was paid solely with
National Guard allocated funds and will be sole-use for the unit, and
some of the space is shared by all.
The partnership between the boards of education and the Guard is a
direct result of many meetings and hard work by state legislators, city,
county, and state officials, and personnel of the Alabama National
Guard. "The way this whole team came together to make this happen is
amazing," said Eric Gerritson, economic development specialist for the
Alabama National Guard and an integral part of the project.
Governor Ivey showed enthusiasm for the partnership and the training
that it allows the career technical center to provide. "Providing
workforce training not only creates a positive business climate in
Alabama, but also gives our young people hope for a good career. Today, I
was proud to see various groups come together to celebrate the opening
of Geneva Regional Career Technical Center," Governor Ivey said. "My
hope is that this facility shows that partnerships share resources, save
money and improve capabilities of all partners. This project is proof
that together we can change Alabama for the better and build a better
future for our children."
Ivey also presented a plaque to Alabama Representative Donnie
Chesteen, house district 87 representative, that represented the Alabama
National Guard's 2016 Army Community Partnership award, which was
awarded to the Alabama Guard in part due to partnerships with state and
local school boards.
The Alabama Army National Guard's Construction and Facilities
Management Office plan to work with other local governments in the
future to continue with more of this type of project. "We're only
limited by our imagination and by the law," said Col. Philip Clayton,
Alabama Army National Guard construction and facilities management
officer. "We look for effective solutions to facilities that support
affordable readiness and support the host community."
Photo 1: Gov. Kay Ivey presides at the ribbon cutting of the newly renovated National Guard and Regional Career Tech facility. - Photo by Sgt. William Frye
Photo 2: Geneva Readiness Center before renovation. - Contributed photo
Photo 3: Geneva Readiness Center and Regional Career Tech facility after renovation. - Photo by Maj. Andrew J. Richardson