LBW looks to build facility in Luverne

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2005

On a night when two graduating seniors were honored, Crenshaw County's future educational opportunities also took a giant step.


Probate Judge Jim Perdue, Superintendent Kathi Wallace, Adult Education Coordinator Laura Elliot and LBW President Ed Meadows were all on hand for Monday night's meeting with the Luverne City Council.

Their reasons?

To bring a satellite campus of LBW Community College to Luverne.

"We don't have anything in Crenshaw County relating to post-secondary education," said Perdue. "And I believe it's one of the building blocks of a successful community."

The college's desire is that the future facility becomes located in the Old Armory building on Sixth St.

Meadows presented the council with an artist's rendering of the finished product. Two adjoining wings would be added to either side of the current building structure along with adequate parking and outside lighting for students. A permanent center director and secretary would staff the campus.

At present, Meadows said LBW offers several educational options for adults, both young and old, in Crenshaw County.

"But we're sort of pieced out everywhere," he said. "We have no centralized identity and we want to expand on what we offer. You are in a position to help plan the growth of your community."

Meadows noted the arrival of more industry in the county would also bring more people. Likewise, an LBW facility in the area would be highly attractive to outside industries, some of which desire classroom settings and training areas for future personnel.

Wallace stated that '40 to 45 percent' of students in Crenshaw County are taking college preparatory classes. She said having a campus in the immediate area would benefit those students still undecided about their futures.

"There are those students who still don't really know what they want to do with their lives when they graduate," she said. "They don't know if they want to go to college or apply for a job. This would give them that opportunity to get their 'feet wet', so to speak, in a college setting."

Perdue said for the project to proceed, LBW would need the City of Luverne to deed the property and Old Armory to the college with the stipulation that it be used for this purpose. Both Meadows and Perdue also assured the council that the integrity of the Old Armory building itself would be maintained. Funding for the project would come through the state and federal government. Additionally, the city and county could make use of the facilities if needed.

The council unanimously approved a motion to submit LBW a memorandum of agreement to move forward with the project. The council will review an outlined proposal from LBW at a later date before deciding whether or not to deed the property. Representatives of LBW will also have to tour the Old Armory and conduct tests to determine if it's a suitable building for add-on construction and renovation.

Meadows said he estimates the campus could begin serving students in two years. There would also be four months devoted to architectural design.

In other business:

n Luverne Mayor Joe Rex Sport presented Areka S. Smith and Jessica N. Black with scholarships on behalf of the Alabama Municipal Electric Authority (AMEA) of which the city is included.

Smith is the winner of the regular scholarship in the amount of $4,125. Black receives $2,130 for the technical scholarship.

The award winners are chosen each year by an independent panel of college counselors in Montgomery.

n The council amended an ordinance in Section 17-2-4 of the city code concerning the installation of sewage disposal facilities inside the city limits.

n The council also agreed to donate one of the city's older police cars to the Town of Petrey.