Anniston is a city in Calhoun County in the state of Alabama. As of the2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to the 2013 Census Estimates, the city had a population of 22,666. The city is thecounty seat of Calhoun County and one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
At the southernmost length of the Blue Ridge, part of the Appalachian Mountains, Anniston's environment is home to diverse species of birds, reptiles and mammals. Part of the former Fort McClellan is now operating as Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge to protect endangered Southern Longleaf Pine species.
Anniston is located at(33.663003, −85.826664).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 45.7 square miles (118.4 km2), of which 45.6 square miles (118.2 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.15%, is water.
In 2003, part of the town of Blue Mountain was annexed into the city of Anniston, while the remaining portion of the town reverted to unincorporated Calhoun County.
The Anniston Western Bypass runs from Interstate 20 in Oxford (the Coldwater exit) and runs north into the present State Route 202. It is five lanes wide, handling Anniston Army Depot traffic. Future plans will extend it on the present County Road 109 by widening it to connect with US 431.
The Anniston Eastern Bypass was a stalled project of the Alabama Department of Transportation to build a four-lane highway in Calhoun County until revived by the 2009 federal stimulus package. It was the largest influx of federal money into the local economy since Fort McClellan closed. More than $21 million was earmarked for this project in 2005. This funding was spent acquiring rights of way and grading a section of the proposed bypass from Oxford to the community of Golden Springs. As of April 2009, the section was a graded, but undriveable, clay dirt road bed. The Eastern Bypass was revived by the 2009 Federal Stimulus Package and was opened to traffic into McClellan on the northwest end in January 2011. Construction of the interchange with State Route 21 and US Route 431 is underway and the completion and opening date is expected to be the summer of 2015.
Anniston is governed by Alabama's "weak mayor" form of city government. Four city council members are elected to represent the city's four wards, and the mayor is elected at-large. Day-to-day functions of city government are carried out by the city manager, who is appointed by the mayor and city council.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County, Alabama. Circuit and district courts for the county and the district attorney's office are located in the Calhoun County Courthouse at the corner of 11th Street and Gurnee Avenue. Other county administrative offices are in the Calhoun County Administrative Building at the corner of 17th and Noble streets, and a United States Courthouse, part of the U.S. Alabama Northern District Court, is located at the corner of 12th and Noble streets.
Public schools in Anniston are operated by Anniston City Schools. These include:
The school system boasts one of the most high-tech computing capabilities in the state, according to representatives from Huntsville as well as various news agencies. Every school is equipped with state-of-the-art Macintosh (Apple) labs, which includes two 55-inch (1,400 mm) plasma screen monitors, interactive Smart Boards (which are also populated throughout the school system), and additional computer labs at many of the schools. This does not include the ACCESS lab at the high school, used to interact with other schools within the state. These are all connected by high speed OC 48 fiber.
A public four-year institution of higher learning, Jacksonville State University, is located 12 miles (19 km) to the north inJacksonville. Anniston is home to some satellite campuses of Gadsden State Community College, both at the former Fort McClellan and at the Ayers campus in southern Anniston.
There are several private primary and secondary schools in Anniston, including: