Effingham County Schools’ maintenance department soon will have everything it needs under one roof.
The Effingham County Board of Education entered into contract to purchase a warehouse in the Effingham Industrial Park, signed at $1,375,000, to bring maintenance parts, equipment and personnel under one roof. The building was formerly home to the Savannah Yacht Company and warehouse.
“The facility is a large facility, and what we’re looking forward to doing is being able to store, and we have to store lots of things, but to storing equipment,” said Superintendent of Schools, Randy Shearouse.
The former Savannah Yacht Company building has been vacant for nearly three years. BB&T, which held the mortgage on the building, bought it and the land there in an August 2008 auction.
“We had looked at it one time, and we didn’t know if we could really afford the property with the list price,” said Shearouse of the seeming competitive piece of real estate. “And we kept looking at it and the bank actually owned the property so we decided to make an offer on it and see how things worked out. And we were successful in gaining the contract.”
Currently, maintenance shares the bus shop off Highway 119 — a facility that is also receiving a much need facelift.
“We’ve been in that facility 30-plus years now,” Shearouse said, “and we’ve done some renovation there for our transportation department. So, transportation will be located there and maintenance will be in the industrial park.”
Just as the bus shop renovation, the acquisition of the property can be paid for through E-SPLOST dollars.
The department houses its spare heating and air units, lawn equipment, lighting fixtures and extra classroom furniture in buildings throughout the county, including Marlow Elementary and the old Effingham County Middle School.
“We’re really excited about having room to store all of the equipment because right now, we’re having to store, it’s scattered around the county…,” Shearouse said. “I think it will make us much more efficient for sure.”
The system’s cabinet shop is currently located in a former garment factory near Springfield Elementary and is primed to move into the Industrial Park warehouse.
Although nothing has been finalized, Shearouse muses possible uses for the vacant cabinet shop as a relocation for the technology department, currently at the BOE central office in Springfield.
“We don’t have the plan completed at this point, but possibly, technology, they need a little more space, and we need a little more space for meetings up here, for record storage and such,” he said. “So there are possibilities to get people a little more space.”
He also said that the building could potentially become an adjunct of the Effingham College and Career Academy as a facility for teaching welding courses to students.
“I think it would lend itself to having some students trained to enter the workforce,” Shearouse said. “We do hear the industry is looking for more welders and skilled workers. That’s an important part of the school system’s goal. Part of economic development is the school system training our students to enter the workforce.
“So as industry looks at the area, they know they have a trained workforce and that they can locate into this community.”
The BOE expects to close on the property Dec. 1 and will make plans for shuffling departments thereafter.