Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

January 23, 2013

Darton project about to move forward

Cordele — Since county public works personnel completed the demolition of the Roobins building in anticipation of new construction for Darton College, it seems as if nothing has been happening.

That’s not the case, however, according to Bob Evans who chairs the higher education committee for the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce and has worked closely with the Darton project since its inception.

Originally planned for fall of 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony now is scheduled for the second week in February, Evans says. The delay was caused because the necessary financing had to be arranged.

While a sizable amount of the current special purpose local option sales tax is devoted to the new Darton building in downtown Cordele, all of those tax monies won’t be available for another five years.

In order to begin the project now, Evans said, it was necessary to get revenue bonds validated, and that did not happen until the last week in 2012. Evans, also a banker, said he worked countless hours during the last few months of the year, helping to get the financing in place.

Now, he said, construction can begin; however, the entire building will not be completed, and the architect and contractors have to determine exactly what they can do with the funds available before any work begins.

“We were able to secure the financing at 2% interest,” Evans said, “and everything is ready to move forward.”

There are no problems with the building site, he indicated, but it will be necessary to bring in some clay so the soil will compact properly before concrete is poured for the foundation, he added.

Evans is excited that former State Senator George Hooks of Americus has been appointed to the state Board of Regents. Crisp and Sumter counties always have had a close relationship, and “Hooks has been our friend,” he said. “He’ll be invited to help with the groundbreaking, and we are sure we can depend on him to help us in many other ways as well.”

Once this first building which will be funded by local governing entities is completed, it will be turned over to the Board of Regents of the University System for use by Darton College. As the local student body grows, expansion will be necessary, and future plans call for the addition of several more buildings, as well as a parking deck, in downtown Cordele.

All that expansion will be funded by the University System, Evans explains.


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