Family Life Center expresses interest in R.L. Austin property

Published 3:53 pm Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Georgiana City Council remains undecided on what to do with the old Georgiana High School and R.L. Austin Elementary School properties.

William Lewis, representative of Family Life Center, brought the issue to attention with a proposal for the R.L. Austin facility.

“We would like to ask for a trial period,” Lewis said, admitting that such a proposal was probably unprecedented.

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“We were hoping we could hold three or four rooms, maybe less, as a trial to see how it goes for three months and then come back to the table to see how it would hold up financially.”

Lewis had designed a proposal to put before the council, but several Family Life Center board members raised questions that eventually led to the proposal’s withdrawal for the time being.

He cited plans to use the property efficiently with minimal support from the city.

His efforts included some discussion with Auburn University in regards to using solar energy as an alternative to help curb costs while running the facility.

According to Alabama Power, the use of solar panels could cut energy consumption by as much as 60 percent, a figure Lewis found very impressive.

Unfortunately, the City of Georgiana has made no further decisions regarding the facilities in the past month.

“The city attorney has advised the council that the city has no use for Austin School,” said Mayor Mike Middleton. “We still haven’t decided on the high school as to whether we’ll act on it or not, and Austin School will be dealt with by the Board of Education.”

In other business, Lewis said that Family Life Center would be serving as host to another “Meet the Candidates” forum, in which the community could come out and ask questions to candidates running for municipal offices.

While the purpose for the forum is to inform the public about the candidates that they would be voting for, Lewis wanted to ensure that the forum remained civil.

“Most of you all were involved with the last one, and we’re trying not to get into debates, but we’re trying to ask questions,” Lewis said. “I hope we have a larger turnout this time.”