By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer
The Joint Development Authority, a four-county board monitoring the development of Stanton Springs, met on June 24 to review a proposed beautification plan for Interstate 20 and the latest updates on the construction of Baxter International’s $1.1 billion BioScience Training Center. Paul Michael, representative from Technology Park in Atlanta, presented several pieces of information to the JDA concerning the overall progress of the training center. “Everything is going ahead of schedule,” said Michael. It couldn’t be going better…Steel has been erected for the training center. it’s going up fast. They are making a lot of progress.” According to Michael, the completion date for the training center is early 2015, but still tentative. “It’s going to make a strong presence as you’re driving down the parkway…it’s going to be a great marketing tool for all of us,” said Michael. The training center is anticipated to create at least 1500 job initially. The construction process alone has already created work for thousands.
According to Andy Ainslie, by time the training center is completed, an estimated 6,000 construction workers will have been employed for the project. “I am hoping at least 50 percent of the jobs available will go to my folks in Morgan County,” joked Ainslie. He encouraged Morgan County residents to start applying for available positions with Baxter at: www.baxter.com/covington.
The JDA also looked over a re-landscaping plan, created by students from University of Georgia Metropolitan Design Studio, to beautify segments of Interstate 20 in Newton County, near the training center. The plans included prominent signs for Stanton Springs and Newton County, with low maintenance shrub plantings along the roadside, stainless steel arching guardrails, and materials to complement the style of the Stanton Springs site. “This design concept proposes taking the architecture materials from Stanton Springs and drawing it out onto the overpass,” said Mary Alexander, a landscape architecture student.
“By using flagstone and glass, the overpass will draw attention to the newly planned community. The seasonal wildflowers and low maintenance shrubs will improve the highway beautification while keeping the area low maintenance.” “The students did some great work,” said Michael. “I don’t know how much we can actually implement, but they demonstrated some great creativity.”