New High School Opens in Ozark

Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News

Ozark students have first day in new school

OZARK — April Fools’ Day came and went with no significant hiccups for students attending their first full day of classes in the new Carroll High School facility.

Ozark City Schools Superintendent Mike Lenhart said a couple problems with computers and swipe keys happened Monday as students navigated through the new building for classes, but he said nothing unusual took place for a first day in a new facility.

“We were expecting a few hiccups here and there but there was really nothing too significant that went wrong,” he said.

“The students were excited. Not one of them had the same thing to say about what they liked most about their new school.”

The projected start date to open the new building had been in place for several months as the facility neared completion. Construction began in 2011 after the Ozark City Schools District received a $22,074,000 Qualified School Construction Bond for the project three years ago.

School officials said new technology, new furniture, additional complexes and safety measures are among the differences between the new school and the old CHS facility that opened in 1955. Officials said state-of-the-art instruction through the high school’s new academy structure has also been implemented to prepare students for some of the most popular and rigorous careers in today’s economy.

Lenhart said principals from other schools went through the old facility to salvage any equipment that can be used at other locations throughout the district, such as SMART Boards that are expected to be used in each room at D.A. Smith Middle School.

Lenhart said the remaining items in the old building will either be auctioned on or sold during what he called a “yard sale” within the month.

Lenhart said the old facility will then be turned over to a construction company for demolition and the vacant space used for parking.

The 600 hall of the old building is expected to be used for the district’s standalone alternative school, the Opportunity Academy.

Alabama’s First Unmanned Aircraft Systems Maintenance Program to Locate in Ozark

Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News


Alabama’s First Unmanned Aircraft Systems Maintenance Program to Locate in Ozark

OZARK, Ala. (January 29, 2013) – The Alabama Aviation Center, a unit of Enterprise State Community College (ESCC), will create the state’s first unmanned aircraft systems maintenance program to serve a growing aviation business sector, according to Nancy W. Chandler, Ed.D., ESCC president. 

The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development recently awarded a $360,000 grant to ESCC to develop and launch the first phase of the program. The new program, tentatively scheduled to begin in January 2014, will enable ESCC to turn out certified technicians qualified in both manned and unmanned systems.  

“The new unmanned aircraft maintenance certification, along with our existing avionics and manned aviation maintenance technology programs and strong relationships in the aviation industry, positions ESCC as the premier institution for comprehensive aviation maintenance training in Alabama,” Chandler said. 

“With its proximity to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker and the many aviation businesses in our region, ESCC’s ability to provide comprehensive aircraft maintenance training will boost our ability to recruit and retain employers seeking such expertise for their employees,” said Eric Basinger, executive director of the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (ODEC). 

The college’s application for the state grant was supported by ODEC and private-sector companies that are interested in expanding their unmanned aircraft capabilities. 

“The challenge of converting a manned helicopter into an unmanned-only aerial vehicle requires skills that are not taught in traditional aviation mechanic training programs. The Alabama Aviation Center’s creation of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Maintenance Program will provide immediate and lasting benefits to its students, the local economy and industry alike,” said Barry Ford, general manager of Bell Helicopter-Ozark. 

Aviation is one of the fastest growing industries in south Alabama. Despite the economic downturn, the unmanned sector of the aviation and aerospace industry has continued to grow as a way to increase efficiency, save money and enhance safety. In 2010, the U.S. Air Force trained more unmanned aircraft pilots than manned fighter and bomber pilots, and the Pentagon purchased more unmanned aircraft than manned aircraft, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. 

The association projects that 23,000 unmanned aircraft systems jobs will be created in the United States over the next 15 years. Many of these jobs will be in manufacturing, with a ripple effect among supplier companies responding to increasing demand for unmanned systems. 

About the Alabama Aviation Center, a unit of Enterprise State Community College

The Alabama Aviation Center is the only Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved provider of aviation maintenance training in Alabama. The AAC has maintained a proven reputation and an established tradition of providing excellence in aviation maintenance technology airframe and powerplant for over 50 years. AAC also offers Avionics for those interested in the electronics side of the field. All aviation programs offered by the college reflect current industry standards to ensure students are prepared for careers in the high growth aviation industry. Locations include Ozark, Mobile, Andalusia, Albertville and Decatur. 

ESCC was named as a Top 120 Community College in the nation by the ASPEN Institute in both 2011 and 2012. ESCC offers classes in Enterprise, Ft. Rucker and online, as well as seven AAC sites across the state. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@enterprisestate), or find us on Facebook.  

About the Ozark-Dale County EDC

The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (ODEC) leads the county-wide initiative to stimulate job creation and capital investment in Dale County. For more information, call 334.443.2000 or send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Dale economic corporation to go after aviation, retail businesses

Written by Ebony Horton. Posted in News

OZARK—After raising more than $1 million for economic development through dozens of partnerships with residents and businesses region wide, the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation said it is continuing efforts to recruit major industries into the Dale County area.

ODEC officials met with Ozark and Dale County leaders Thursday for a briefing of the corporation's actions throughout the previous year. ODEC board chairman John Ferguson said much of the past year has been spent raising an estimated $1.07 million for economic development and meeting with residents and business owners to discover what's most needed in the area.

ODEC Aviation Director Stephanie Blankenship said work is underway to continue to expose the opportunities available at the airport.

"It is very important that we let people know what we have, and one of the first things people want to know is the workforce," Blankenship said.

"All we have to say (in aviation) is that the (Alabama Aviation Center) is right there on the airport. ... We also want to continue to partner and to develop a speculative hangar for maintenance, repair and overhaul companies for the aviation and defense industry. All of this is being done to prepare us so that when that industry does come, we're ready."

ODEC Executive Director Eric Basinger said existing German businesses in Dale County give the county credibility in Europe and elsewhere for a willingness to pursue international companies.

While economic development has changed over the last decade, Basinger said the partnership between Dale County and its municipalities, as well as partnerships with neighboring communities and some in Florida, shows a unified effort.

"There are fewer projects in economic development than ever before and there are more communities than ever before chasing after those big projects," he said.

"In Alabama, we are also going up against other countries that are putting incentive packages on the table. We're doing a lot of work on retail, with our focus on the larger, anchor-type buildings. We want to do more work with composites, materials for aviation, and with our rail access, we have a good potential for some logistics opportunities."


Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News

Daleville to Partner with Ozark-Dale County on Economic
Development, December 20, 2012.

The City of Daleville's City Council elected to join the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation (ODEC) as an official investor in the organization at Tuesday night's Council meeting.

Daleville, known as the Gateway to Fort Rucker, has many assets that it brings to the table for Dale County's overall economic development package. Aviation simulation is booming there and many defense companies have flocked to Daleville due to its hospitable business environment
and close proximity to Fort Rucker.

"We are excited to work with the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation. This investment strengthens our ties with the county to better promote and market the assets of the City of Daleville for new businesses, retail and industrial opportunities. This comprehensive regional approach is key to success for the continued economic development of Daleville." said
Daleville Mayor Claudia Wigglesworth.

Daleville will financially contribute $11,632.00 per calendar year to ODEC.  This amount is
formed by a calculation of approximately $2.00 per person of the local population.

"We were glad to be asked to give a presentation to the Mayor and City Council in Daleville," said ODEC Board Chairman John Ferguson.  "We were excited to learn that they voted to become an integral part of ODEC. This show of unity is huge in the context of Dale counties show of solidarity to organizations looking to relocate to our area.  This show of financial, as well as, collaborative support that now exists throughout the county is the kind of strength needed both now and in the future in order to meet the economic goals for us all."

ODEC Executive Director Eric Basinger said, "One of the most important goals in our business plan is to unify Dale County for economic development.  By partnering with Daleville this will take us a long way toward that goal.  Our board and staff all look forward to the successful partnership that we have formed."

For information regarding ODEC contact:

Eric Basinger, CEcD

Executive Director

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





Blankenship Appointed to Develop Aviation in Ozark-Dale County

Written by Ozark Dale. Posted in News


Blankenship Appointed to Develop Aviation in Ozark-Dale County

OZARK, Ala. (December 4, 2012) – The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (ODEC) has appointed Stephanie M. Blankenship the Executive Vice President and Director of Aviation in Ozark, Ala., according to Eric Basinger, ODEC executive director. Blankenship, who manages the Headland, Ala., airport, will assume the Ozark post Jan.1.

Stephanie is a highly accomplished administrator with extensive knowledge of airport operations and economic development,” Basinger said. “We are excited to welcome her to the team to develop the Ozark-Dale County airport into an economic engine for the county and maximize our overall potential in aviation and aerospace throughout Dale County.”

“This is one of the steps necessary for our airport to reach its full job and investment potential,” said Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell. “Stephanie’s knowledge, experience and professional associations are a perfect fit for ODEC’s goals. She is truly a first class person and will be a tremendous asset for our community.”

In addition to managing the airport and planning future improvements, Blankenship will assist with economic development initiatives coordinated by ODEC. She also will continue as executive director of the Aviation Council of Alabama, an industry organization she has led since 2004.

Blankenship has served as manager of the Headland Airport since 2002 and as economic development director for the City of Headland since 2011. While in these posts, she was instrumental in securing federal grants exceeding $2.6 million for airport improvements. Blankenship previously served as executive director of the Henry County Economic Development Authority and as economic development assistant for the City of Headland.

The Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corp. (ODEC) leads the county-wide initiative to stimulate job creation and capital investment in Dale County. For more information, call 334.443.2000 or send email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Eric Basinger, Executive Director, ODEC

T 334.443.2000

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.