COVINGTON — Newton County is proud to be the home of Baxter International and will soon display a sign off Interstate 20 in order to better advertise the bio-pharmaceutical manufacturing plant and mixed-use development where it is located, Stanton Springs.
The Board of Commissioners agreed to rename a portion of U.S. Highway 278 off I-20, Exit 101, to Stanton Springs Parkway. Stanton Springs park was developed by the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton and Walton counties.
Chairman Keith Ellis said a total of 1.4 miles would be renamed in order to promote the county’s economic development.
“When you go down the interstate you can see Baxter’s work, but there’s no real way of knowing that is a joint venture between four counties, referred to as Stanton Springs, unless we market it that way,” Ellis said. “The idea of renaming that part of U.S. 278 to Stanton Springs Parkway is supported by not only Newton County, but also Walton County, the governor and local Rep. Doug Holt.”
Baxter has purchased about 160 acres in the more than 1,600-acre industrial park. Baxter’s investment will soon total $1 billion and bring 1,500 new jobs, with the average salary at about $60,000.
When the new Stanton Springs Parkway sign is erected, Holt said he hopes more business will move into Stanton Springs.
“The intent is to strengthen the identity of the tech park by demonstrating both state and local commitment to it,” Holt said. “The stronger branding will aid in recruitment of additional employers to Stanton Springs.”
Baxter’s construction should be completed by 2015 or 2016, and commercial production is expected to start in 2018.
In addition to the manufacturing facility, a bio-tech training center will be built and operated by Georgia Quick Start on the site. The training center will provide customized training to meet the company’s start-up needs and will be available for other companies coming to or expanding in Georgia to train employees.