House Resolution 205 now rests with the state Senate, which has not yet voted on it. If enacted, the former Georgia Bureau of Investigation lab and the gym once part of the Georgia School for the Deaf could be bought by private parties.
That prospect doesn’t sit well with some elected officials. “There’s been several possible uses that the state has talked about,” said Jason Winters, Chattooga County’s sole county commissioner. “We’ll see if this goes through on surplus.”
Winters would prefer the former lab remain in state hands and become a training facility for nearby Hays State Prison. Such a facility would complement the area, he said. “Right now, it’s just finding dollars in the budget,” Winters added.
Former state representative Barbara Massey Reece of Menlo said she and other officials focused on possible uses for the old crime lab. The idea of a youth challenge academy was floated, though it never materialized.
“The community would like to see something that would help the economy of the area,” Reece said.
About 40 miles to the south sits another building listed on the House resolution. Basketball was played in Talmadge Gym in Cave Spring just a few years ago, though the building is in need of significant repairs, said Council member and Mayor Pro Tempore Ken Landers. It’s now one of several properties listed in the resolution.
“It’s in disrepair now,” Landers said. “The floors have been damaged. Over the years, it’s just deteriorated.”
Ideally, Landers wants the gym rehabilitated into a recreation facility. However, he pointed to the high cost of making that a reality.
“I’d prefer for it to stay with the state, to be honest,” Landers said. “In Cave Spring, you hate to see any building done away with.”
If the resolution passes, the properties listed in it would be transferred to the Georgia State Properties Commission, Reece said. That commission will maintain them pending a possible sale.