By now most eligible voters have likely decided where they stand on the Lee County School District’s proposed $15 million bond issue to construct a proposed career and technical education center. The only question that remains is who will go out and vote?

Of the bond issue total, an estimated $9.5 million will be used to build the career and technical center, with $2 million to be used for security upgrades, and any remaining funds used for infrastructure improvements across the district, as reported by Daily Journal staff writer Blake Alsup. If approved, the bond issue will not increase tax rates.

We support the county schools creating the facility, but hope to eventually see the Lee County School District and the Tupelo Public School District work together to have one facility for all students.

Businesses and industries, locally and regionally, who invest physical resources to a technical center would benefit by being able to maximize their resources to participate at one location.

It is financially prudent to consolidate all resources, working together to build our workforce. Technical center programs should not need companies to make a decision as to where they participate if their resources are limited.

The Lee County School District’s proposed facility will include pathway programs: Four classroom-based: health science, teacher academy, information technology and hospitality and tourism. The other four will be shop-based: construction/carpentry; transportation, distribution and logistics; industrial maintenance and ag power equipment/ag and natural resources.

The proposed center will be located at the Hive, the Community Development Foundation’s new industrial park located north of state Highway 76 in Tupelo and to the west of Bissell Road. The approximately 30,000 square foot facility will be built on 20 acres of land that the district has purchased there.

The district hopes to start construction in spring 2020 with a goal of having the yet-to-be-named center open and available for students to use beginning in August 2021.

The voters’ decision will make a direct impact in the lives of students who will soon become the next generation of our region’s workforce. We hope the school districts will come together in discussions and consider having one facility serving the county, city and region.

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