Chattahoochee Chatter: Purple: the new white

February 19, 2014 

Is the new purple white?

It kind of looks that way in downtown Columbus. Purple has been the signature color of the Uptown Business Improvement since its inception. The workers wear purple and the vehicles and equipment are purple.

Until recently. Some of the street cleaners are now white.

Is the BID changing colors. No, said Uptown President Richard Bishop. There is a simple reason for keeping that equipment white.

"It helps resale value," Bishop said.

Well, at least we have cleared that up.


We learned more this week about the consultant who will advise the development of the Muscogee County School District's system-wide arts academy.

Superintendent David Lewis announced during Monday night's school board meeting that Craig Collins, a former colleague from Polk County, Fla., will be paid $12,000 for his fee.

Collins was the principal of the arts school in Polk County -- it's called the Lois Cowles Harrison Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in Lakeland, Fla. -- for 12 years. He now is dean of communications, languages and the arts at Southeastern University, also in Lakeland. He is a past president of the Arts School Network, an international organization, and the Florida Network of Arts Administrators.

"He clearly has a wealth of experience and knowledge." Lewis said. "I know him personally as well as professionally. He will do a very fine job. He's got many accolades to his credit."

The Muscogee County School District arts academy project is expected to cost about $30 million with approximately $1.7 million from 2003 and $28.3 million from 2009 SPLOST. It will be built on district property behind the Columbus Public Library. No dates for the construction or opening have been released.


It's good to know in this era of chronic federal budget cuts that the bean counters aren't whacking money from places they should not.

In this case, a ground-breaking ceremony Friday at Fort Benning will put taxpayer cash to good use. The post will begin construction on a new Morris R. McBride Elementary School on Custer Road, with completion expected just in time for the school year starting in 2016.

The price tag for the school? About $32 million.

But, considering the current McBride School was built in 1966 -- just as the Vietnam War was starting to rage -- this looks to be money well spent.

And there's more on the way, with E.A. White Elementary School on post in the design phase for a new building, while Faith Middle School will receive an annex.

It all is part of the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity's efforts to bring military schools up to 21st-century standards. Plus, surely no one wants to balance a budget on the backs of children trying to learn to be productive citizens in a half-century-old school.

If you want to see how your taxpayer money is being spent, the McBride ground-breaking ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m. Friday. And the public is invited.


The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning is not deploying on an assignment but a recent test shows the "Sledgehammer" brigade is ready if the phone rings.

Members of 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment were called to take part in a drill on Feb. 9. The event was part of the Emergency Deployment Response Exercise to test procedures for the future.

After loading baggage onto pallets, along with weapons and ammunition, soldiers were packed and ready to roll the convoy of vehicles out before the sunset on Feb. 10.

The exercise was the culmination of months worth of planning.

"It always look so much different on paper compared to when you actually get out there and see the soldiers executing," said Maj. Carl Warren, a fire support officer and planner. "Planning it is one thing, but then you actually see it and sometimes it isn't what you had thought or there are things here and there you would want done differently next time, but that's why we do this -- to catch things."

Although the soldiers proved their proficiency, there will be more exercises as part of their training cycle.

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