Chamber tours neighboring school facilities
Last Friday 40 business owners and community leaders toured Columbia County (Georgia) public schools. The purpose of the visit was to see modern, technology rich facilities that have captured national recognition and ranking for academic success.
The school facilities visit supports one of the Aiken Chamber’s 2014 key initiatives – to elevate the critical role of education as a tool to support Aiken’s economic vitality.
“The community’s prosperity hinges upon having an educated and trained work force of the future – one that has the critical (and also soft) skills necessary for success. The Chamber’s goal is to raise public awareness of the critical role education plays in the community’s economic prosperity and quality of life,” said Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson.
Chamber 2014 Chair, Dr. Deidre Martin, University of South Carolina Aiken, said, “This year the Board of Directors and I plan to study and formulate recommendations, where appropriate, on funding options for capital investment in public school facilities, including one-cent sales tax options, bond referendums, and other options.”
The half-day tour, hosted by Dr. Jeff Carney, associate superintendent, Columbia County School System and Tammy Shepherd, president/CEO, Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, included several stops as well as a presentation at the Columbia County Board of Education.
Prior to departing Aiken, the participants heard a presentation from Geof Fountain of the “Independent Assessment of the Five-Year Facility Improvement Plan” for Aiken County Public Schools. Fountain served as a community member of the facility improvement plan committee.
Aiken County Public School Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Everett gave an overview of Leavelle McCampbell Middle School and the new Byrd Elementary in Graniteville as the bus passed the schools on the way to Georgia. She pointed out that Leavelle McCampbell is on tap for a new school.
Following the Columbia County Schools tour, Dr. Everitt said, “Seeing and walking through the up-to-date schools in Columbia County was an important experience for Aiken business and community leaders. Although Aiken County has many innovative programs and successful students, imagine what could be accomplished with newer facilities and cutting edge technology. Thank you to the Aiken Chamber for organizing this educational tour. ”
Among the Columbia County Schools the group saw were: Grovetown High, Columbia Middle, Baker Place Elementary, and Evans Elementary; the last two opened last year for the 2013-2014 school year.
The following business and community leaders, representing various organizations, participated in the Columbia County Schools visit.
Aiken Board of Realtors and Multiple Listing Service
Prudential Beazley Real Estate
Aiken Properties, Inc.
Aiken Chamber Ambassadors
Verandas on the Green
Margaret’s Garden Adult Day Care
USCA Convocation Center
Aiken Chamber Board of Directors
URS – PS
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC
Aiken Chamber Board & 2013 Blue Ribbon Panel
J. David Jameson
Aiken Chamber President/CEO
Dr. Deidre Martin
Aiken Chamber Chair
UPS Customs Brokerage
Aiken Chamber Professional Staff
Coordinator, Information Services
and Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA)
Director, Public Affairs and Operations
City of Aiken
Rural Health Services, Inc.
Aiken City Council
Aiken City Manager
Aiken County Board of Education
Savannah River Remediation
Aiken County Public Schools
Dr. Elizabeth Everitt
Elementary School Academic Officer
Elementary School Academic Officer
Blue Ribbon Panel (Aiken Chamber – 2013)
Arthur W. “Buzz” Rich, PC
Aiken High School
Security Federal Bank
Columbia County Chamber of Commerce
Columbia County School System
Public Education Partners (PEP)
Southside Pediatrics of Aiken, LLC