BOC discusses new school zoning for BOE

News

ELLIJAY, Ga. – During their June meeting, the Gilmer Board of Commissioners saw an item requesting a rezoning to PI-1 for the Gilmer County Board of Education.

This item is a part of planning and preparations for a new school to be built on the school’s Clear Creek property next to Clear Creek Middle School (CCMS). The school is set to replace the current Ellijay Primary School (EPS) as part of a plan to reorganize the school system.

This item is far ahead of any concrete plans on construction as the BOE is awaiting approval of a new ESPLOST referendum before they could move forward with this construction project.

During their work session, the Board of Commissioners discussed the item. With all three in favor of the school, the only discussion came from understanding what impact the project would have on the counties surrounding infrastructure. Post Commissioner Dallas Miller asked what changes would need to be done to the roads like Clear Creek Road and Yukon Road. Miller inquired if they would need deceleration lanes or traffic lights. While no solid answer is available at this time due to the project not even being out of idea stages without ESPLOST money to support it, there did become an understanding between the two entities for continued communication.

With CCMS already at the location, there may not be much, if any, change in school vehicle traffic like buses on the road, however, effectively “moving” EPS to the new location would obviously increase traffic on Yukon Road and Clear Creek Road from staff and parents.

While the BOC did approve the rezoning request, Miller’s comments at the work session made it apparent that they will be looking for constant communication on the project so that they may prepare the streets accordingly. Gilmer Schools Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs and two members of the Board of Education, Chairman Michael Bramlett and Vice Chair Ronald Watkins, were on hand during the BOC Regular Meeting to speak with the Commissioners before the meeting.

FYN’s current understanding of the project is that discussion is still going on how to maintain the communication. There is no information yet on if this would take the form of a report during commissioner’s meetings, a liaison between the two boards, or something else.

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New Theater Officially Open in East Ellijay

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East Ellijay, Ga. – Though expected for almost a year now, the Georgia Theater Company (GTC) has officially opened its doors on its newest addition, Mountain Cinemas in East Ellijay.

The theater boasts eight screens of digital projection film, an in-house bar and grill called Outtakes, and usual concessions like popcorn and candy. Each theater is filled with reclining seats operated automatically with arm-rest buttons.

While all food and drinks from the concession stand or the Outtakes grill are allowed inside the theaters, they also host a few small tables in the lobby for those who wish to sit there.

The movie theater hosted a “film-cutting” this week to celebrate their opening with corporate guests like Chairman of the Board of GTC, William Stembler, and GTC President Bo Chambliss.

Chambliss specifically thanked Mac Wood, City Manager of East Ellijay, as the key to making the construction of Mountain Cinemas “a whole lot smoother than most of the construction projects that we’ve been a part of.”

Stembler joked with those present about the theater’s seats saying, “We have these recliner seats that are really comfortable. If you go in the theater and you fall asleep, we’re not gonna give you a refund.”

However, one thing to note about the new theater is that the seats are numbered. Marketing Manager Kate Sabbe did say you could buy your seats online, meaning that you don’t have to show up early for seats as the ticket will save those seats. However, the flip side would suggest that if you have any sort of sizeable group, it may be wise to purchase tickets well in advance for popular movies if you want to sit together.

Georgia Theater Company President Bo Chambliss, left, and Chairman William Stembler, right, say a few words of thanks before cutting the film ribbon to open Mountain Cinemas.

Georgia Theater Company President Bo Chambliss, left, and Chairman William Stembler, right, say a few words of thanks before cutting the film ribbon to open Mountain Cinemas.

The larger main screens, headliners, hold 145 people while the smaller screens hold between 70 and 80 people for a grand total of 836 seats.  Mountain Cinemas Manager Lauren Chastain said the building will move some major movies, like the upcoming Jurassic World, into multiple screens meaning it will at times hold less than 8 movies. Currently, it’s showing six films on its opening weekend.

Established as the leading form of GTC theaters, Mountain Cinemas represents everything the company could bring to bear as a cutting-edge representation. Though they declined to include 3D movies, this branch is what GTC is currently in renovations mode at several of their other locations to meet. Mountain Cinemas also hosts an open kitchen for Outtakes, something Chastain said is not done at any other location. The new building has brought, including management, a current total of 53 jobs to East Ellijay.

A part of Outtakes, the bar inside of the theater already hosts local favorites like those from Blue Ridge Brewery “Grumpy Old Men” and a hard cider from Mercier’s Orchards in Blue Ridge. With eight total beers on tap, Chastain said the bar is trying to stay with local Georgia and Tennessee breweries over a few general ones like Budweiser.

Mountain Cinemas larger theaters hold 145 people at max capacity.

Mountain Cinemas larger theaters hold 145 people at max capacity.

One program the company holds already saw a special day of afternoon tickets for the Gilmer High School Film Program. Sabbe told FYN that the company as a whole has a program every fall where general manager’s of the theater locations get to choose a charity to donate one day’s entire proceeds to. This, however, was a part of the Grand Opening Celebrations to say thank you for welcoming Mountain Cinemas to the community.

While the building is completed, Chastain and Sabbe both indicated that the theater is not running every program the company has yet.

The fully reclining seats are operated electronically for back a foot rests.

The fully reclining seats are operated electronically for back a foot rests.

The theater company also hosts a program at 14 locations called Flashback cinema where they play hit movies from older periods like Raiders of the Lost Ark or Big Trouble in Little China. With only 14 current locations operating this program, Sabbe was unable to say when or even if the program would travel to East Ellijay’s new location.

One program Sabbe did say East Ellijay will likely see next summer is a program for reduced-price kids movies. The program would provide $1.50 tickets, $1.50 drinks, and $1.50 popcorns for children.

With these to look forward to, the Georgia Theater Company officially cut the film tape to christen its newest cinema and open its doors to the public.

The “Film-cutting” kicked off the two-day celebration leading into this weekend as Mountain Cinema’s first weekend of operation. After much hype, debate, and waiting, the theater is officially open.

 

General Admission is $9 for adults and $7 for kids and seniors. Matinee showings are $7 for everyone.

 

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Apple Ridge Woodturners donate saw to Gilmer High School

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ELLIJAY, Ga. – More than just a saw, Gilmer High School students in Dennis Wilson Jr.’s class are enjoying the perks of a new table saw utilizing a SawStop.

According to Gordon Brewer, of the Apple Ridge Woodturners, the club was in need of a new place to meet as the fire station at which they normally met was a bit too far for some members. As they searched, Brewer stated that the school was kind enough to allow them to meet at the school. Strengthening the relationship, the Woodturners began discussing classes and mentorships for students who wished to take advantage of them.

However, discussion continued as the Woodturners began looking at the high school’s construction class equipment. Wilson spoke of the class’ table saw and issues with safety devices on the saw.

Noticing the need, the Apple Ridge Woodturners Club donated money from within the club, as well as one donation from an outside citizen Mac Logan, to provide a new table saw with several additions for the students utilizing the equipment. The entire package included the SawStop Contractor Saw with the cartridge that drops the blade below the table with any moisture, according to Wilson, who says the system works by grabbing the blade with a cartridge under the table that drops the blade under to prevent serious injury to the operator. While this does ruin both the blade and the cartridge, it holds injury to the operator to between a slight cut to a deep cut instead of possibly losing the entire finger.

The new saw also comes with a new plastic blade guard and a “writhing knife” behind the blade to separate the cut wood from pinching the blade and getting caught which could launch a piece of wood back at the operator.

Apple Ridge Woodturners President Richard Byers told FetchYourNews (FYN) that the club’s 45 members joined together for the $1,799 purchase for the construction class. Typically meeting once a month, the club has been planning since August and moving toward this week as when to officially donate the device. Byers told FYN, should the SawStop device ever be used, it would be, roughly, $200 to replace, which is comparatively cheap in relation to major injury and medical costs.

Moving into the new semester, teacher Dennis Wilson told FYN the main thing he was excited for was the safety upgrade. Stating the most common injury on such a tool is running one’s hand into the blade. Having the state-of-the-art saw helps every one of the 100 students in the shop daily.

“It’s huge,” said Wilson, who commented about constantly being asked by community members who are seeking students who are trained and ready to join construction jobs. Noting the help he gets from the community, Wilson hinted at future projects to return to the community. The constant cycle not only strengthens the relationship, but Wilson said, it is a huge success for the students who are completely responsible for projects from communicating with a client requesting the project to a final in the class that requires them to fully build two sheds like they would a house.

As students move further into the new semester, Wilson told FYN that the saw will be constantly used in his class. Reiterating what the donation means, Wilson noted the age of some of his equipment.

Having the community invest into its own future through the training of students not only shows the course importance but also shows that the community recognizes that importance and cares to improve the quality.

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GHS Renovations Ready for ECAC Committee

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ELLIJAY, GA – The Gilmer County Board of Education spoke in there September meetings about the coming renovations to the local high school.

Still in the very early stages, the renovation project is currently in its application stage for state funding. According to Assistant Superintendent Administrative Services Stuart Sheriff, the application has been approved. However, the approval included a project to replace the standing seam metal roof. However, Sheriff states they are not planning on replacing the roof as it is “basically a 40-year roof, and we’re at 20 years.”

Instead of replacing the roof, the plan is to replace the flat roofing in the high school such as the front office where issues have arisen. The resolution of the Board is to go back to the state officially stating they don’t want to replace the standing seam roofing, but the flat roofing instead.

Next month will see the final application from this issue according to Sheriff, and the RFQ (Request For Qualifications) for Construction Managers has been released. October could see great steps into the project as Sheriff says he expects the RFQ to return, the ECAC (E-SPLOST Construction Advisory Committee) to meet, and they expect to be back in October’s meeting for the Board to look at the Construction Manager.

As the project continues, Sheriff tells FYN that actual construction is expected to begin before students leave for the summer. The early stages could included work on the roof and other projects that will not distract or interrupt classes and students studies. However, these preliminary ideas are subject to change as the Manager, Architect, and  ECAC continues to meet monthly and details are ironed out.

 

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New Facility to Be Developed By NGCF

News

ELLIJAY, GA – With a emphasized focus on educational opportunity and advancement, a new facility is slated to begin construction soon in Ellijay.

Some may not recognize Victory Circle (pictured) in Ellijay, which is located near the Maddox Drive and Progress Road intersection, but the campus offers a total twelve acres for site.

Their full press release is as follows:

The North Georgia Christian Foundation  (NGCF) is pleased to announce a new venture at the Victory Circle location in Ellijay. The twelve acre site was previously the home of a 107,000 square foot manufacturing facility that was once used for carpet production.  NGCF intends to repurpose the structure and name it the North Georgia Christian Center. It will be a multipurpose facility that will include areas for education, indoor and outdoor recreation, meeting space, and even a 10,000 sq. ft. auditorium.
According to NGCF, a portion of the facility will be the new home of North Georgia Christian Academy, which is currently housed a few miles out 282 West.

The goal is to make the facilities available to other groups on a short term lease basis as long as the use does not interfere with the school(s) usage and the uses comply with the standards established by the Christian Foundation which will own and operate the property. For instance, the three basketball/volleyball courts would make an ideal place for community tournaments, the large auditorium and community room would be a great space for large community events.

In addition, the North Georgia Christian Center has interest in sharing space with a University satellite campus or Christian Seminary as they continue to expand educational opportunities in the community.

The primary goal is for the Center to be a wonderful asset to our community and to honor God in all its functions and purpose! The remainder of the architectural design and the construction are slated to take about two years, with the facility being ready for occupancy in June, 2019.

Though this project is in its extremely early stages, FYN does understand that the project planning has already begun and will continue to offer updates as available.

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Join us at the Villa Rica Bypass Open House

Press Release

VILLA RICA, Ga. – Please join us at the Georgia public information open house this afternoon to discuss the proposed project to construct the Villa Rica Bypass. This public meeting will take place from 5 until 7 p.m. at Powell Park, located at 524 Leslie Drive in Villa Rica, Georgia.

Carroll County’s residents interested in learning more about the proposed project are encouraged to attend the meeting and express their thoughts and preferences.

The proposed plans call for the construction of a new location roadway from the intersection of State Route (SR) 101/Industrial Boulevard with Rockmart Road to SR 61/Dallas Highway. The proposal also includes the construction of two roundabouts at the intersection of Industrial Boulevard with Rockmart Road and the intersection of the new location roadway with Dallas Highway. The length of this portion of the Villa Rica Bypass is 1.92 miles.

The villa Rica area has been experiencing increased development pressures. As a result of growth, there is an urgent need to improve access for commuters to I-20. Currently, vehicles traveling southbound on SR 61 towards I-20 must navigate through the city of Villa Rica making several 90° turns within a short distance, and crossing the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks.  SR 61 currently carries 13,000 vehicles per day (VPD), with 9% heavy vehicles. This heavy traffic on SR 61 is projected to increase to 21,000 VPD by 2035.  The traffic volumes for the proposed Villa Rica Bypass are 5,900 VPD in 2016 and 14,000 in 2044. Without the bypass, these volumes would be added to the volumes on SR 61 navigating through the city of Villa Rica.

The Open House will be informal and the public is invited to attend anytime between 5 and 7 p.m.  The meeting site is accessible to persons with disabilities.  Accommodations for people with disabilities can be arranged with advance notice by calling David Acree at (770) 387-3619.

Written statements will be accepted concerning this project until Thursday, August 3, 2017.  Written statements may be submitted to:

Mr. Eric Duff, State Environmental Administrator
Georgia Department of Transportation
Office of Environmental Services
16th Floor, One Georgia Center
600 West Peachtree Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30308

CLC Breaks Ground at Clear Creek

News

Friends and Citizens gathered Sunday, March 19, to witness Gilmer County’s Christian Learning Center (CLC) next step into its future.

KentCLC’s Board of Directors Member, Kent Sanford opened the ceremony speaking about the CLC’s past acknowledging several people who were also present at the groundbreaking of the original building located at the High School.

Sanford made special mention to say thank you to the Community who have supported CLC and its undertakings throughout its existence stating, “One of the greatest things we’re able to do together is by the contributions of everyone coming together to make possible a totally free, release-time, christian education for our students.”

The initial phase of campaigns for the facility are covering soft costs as the organization has already begun contracts with an architect and are looking for surveys needed. Sanford stated they hope to have initial plans ready in four to six weeks and will begin site plans at that point.

signCurrent plans for construction will be looking to have the facility open and ready for students in class in the 2018-2019 school year.

The ceremony also included a small share from three students who have been a part of the CLC’s program. Each student took a moment to explain their thoughts on the CLC and why they are excited to see it coming to Clear Creek.

JasonJaycin Merrell, one of the very first students to attend the 6th Grade Classes offered his thoughts saying, “I am glad that in 2018, Clear Creek Middle School students will have the chance to attend CLC where they can continue to learn about the Lord. So, if you are already supporting the CLC, I thank you. But if you aren’t and would like to start, there is no better time than now.”

The new building will require some shifting of staff from their other facility, but the new CLC building could be looking to add at least one new teacher. This will also upon up the possibility of teaching three different groups of students each semester at Clear Creek totaling availability for up to 200 students by the end of one school year in the estimated 3,000 square feet facility.

More than just the project’s construction, the CLC will also be looking to increase its budget to cover the costs of operating the new facility. Having set a goal for monthly donors to cover a $5,000 increase, the support of the community will be key in furthering the future and possibilities. Sanford also praised the community saying, “Anytime we have had a need, this community has come together and helped.”

Moving forward in the project as community and students have requested classes for Middle School, CLC Director Jennifer Colson stated one of the big reasons for launching the new facility is that “We wanted to start this project so that 7th and 8th Graders can come and take one of our classes during some of the most difficult times of their life… We want to be there to support them and love them and help them.”

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Clear Creek Sees Progress

Community, Featured Stories, News

Clear Creek’s Ball Fields are starting to see their infield mix. (more…)

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