Coachmen Industries Inc. announced today (May 20) that it has entered into an agreement for the sale of its former manufacturing, administrative and service complex in Fitzgerald, Ga., to Ben Hill County Schools.
The school system intends to use the facility for the service, repair and storage of its bus fleet, as well as for driver training and certification activities.
“Our strategic plan is to dispose of non-essential assets that do not support our core businesses,” stated Rick Lavers, Coachmen CEO. “This complex was unnecessary for our on-going business needs, which required its sale. Fortunately, at the same time the local school district was in the market for property such as ours, and we were able to reach an agreement that fits with our strategic plan and the school system’s needs. We view this transaction as a win-win for all parties involved. We are also pleased to see our surplus property put to good and productive use serving the children and schools of Fitzgerald.”
Coachmen was able to make the property, consisting of administrative offices, a manufacturing plant, and two service buildings, available to Ben Hill County Schools in continuation of its strategic plan to exit the RV business. The property occupies nearly 17.8 acres and has approximately 96,000 square feet of floor space, including service bays to service 14 school buses at the same time.
“The construction of our new elementary school, located adjacent to our existing School Bus Shop forced us to close the bus service facility in order to comply with new building code and Homeland Security regulations,” said John R. Key, superintendent of Ben Hill County Schools. “Coachmen was able to provide us with a first class, centrally located turn-key facility that meets our needs, now and for the future, at substantial savings to the other options we explored. We are very pleased that we have been able to acquire this property, and thank Coachmen for their continuing support of our community.”
Coachmen is not abandoning Fitzgerald, however, Lavers noted.
“We are currently working to establish another facility in Fitzgerald better suited to expanding our modular housing business in the Southeast,” he said. “We value the work and loyalty of our former employees in Fitzgerald, are proud to have been a member of the Fitzgerald and Ben Hill County communities for more than 40 years, and look forward to resuming operations in Fitzgerald as the housing market improves.”