Logan board plans to build new tech school on county school grounds
By Jim Turner


Posted on November 6, 2014 5:49 PM



The Logan County School System plans to build a new area technology center near Logan County High School and the central office, which will replace the 50-year-old Russellville Area Technology Center on the grounds of Russellville Sr/Jr High School.

Dr. Kevin Hub, who is in his first year as superintendent of the Logan County schools, made the announcement Wednesday during LEAD’s Industry Appreciation Luncheon at the Extension Office. LEAD stands for Logan Economic Alliance for Development.

The plan is to build a state-of-the-art facility on land the school already owns in front of LCHS, which is accessible from the high school and from U.S. 68-80. That land is currently used for cross country training and meets along with practice areas for other sports and activities.

In doing so, the building which has been called “the trade school” and “the vocational school” as well as the technology center on the Clarksville Road will be available for use by Russelville High School.

Students in Russellville schools who want to take technology/vocational classes will be bused to the new school, just as Logan students have been bused to the building on the Russellville grounds for decades. Todd County students will also be eligible to take classes at the new facility, although plans have been announced for a new facility in the Elkton area.

At last year’s LEAD luncheon, the talk was primarily about renovating the existing building, which came into existence at about the same time as RHS was moved from downtown to the outskirts of the city. The funding nucleus came from the estate of the late Thomas P. deGraffenried, a New York lawyer who wanted to improve educational and cultural opportunities for the people of his hometown, Russellville.

Raising funding for the major renovation was discussed, and a capital campaign was created. The businesses and industries which are part of LEAD were asked to do their share of investing in the school, which educates and trains young people to be dependable, productive employees.

“This year (LEAD Executive Director) Tom Harned asked me to speak at the luncheon about the Logan County Board of Education wanting to build a new technology center,” Hub told The LoJo. “That is concrete evidence that industrial leaders support this plan. Since I spoke Wednesday, I’ve had nothing but a positive response. People are excited about the new facility. The same thing was true when I went to Rotary Thursday.”

Leon Smith, superintendent of the Russellville Independent School District, told The LoJo he thinks this is a positive for the young people of Russellville and Logan County. “How can you turn down a gift like this,” Smith said. “You have to be excited for the kids.”

Logan County has a much greater bonding capacity to borrow the funds than does Russellville. Smith said finding funding for renovations to the technology center would have “stretched our bonding capacity.” Russellville schools’ debt load increased significantly a few years ago when the junior high was moved to the grounds of the high school. A new wing was added to the school building. Also major renovations were made to the athletic facilities on the school grounds.

Smith also said Russellville can use the building which will be vacated when the technology center relocates. “We have been a little short on space since the sixth grade joined seventh and eighth, and we can used some of the classrooms (at the technology center) for that. Some of the shop area there will be an excellent place for our maintenance department, too.

Part of Logan’s plan is to enact an additional five-cent property tax to help with the funding, Hub explained. This would be a Recallable Facility Tax, which can be withdrawn when the facility is paid off. Funds from the tax can only be used for facilities.

In an email to State Rep. Martha Jane King, Harned, school board members, and The LoJo, Hub explained how the advantages of the facilities tax:

1. The recallable nickel should yield nearly $570K in annual bonding revenue, yielding an increase in our bonding capacity by more than $8 million.

2. The equalized nickel should yield nearly $630K in annual bonding revenue, yielding an increase in our bonding capacity by more than $9 million.

3. With a potential for increased property values due to new businesses, it’s possible that in 2016, 2017 tax rates might go down, since we should reach our 4% ceiling. Essentially, it’s possible that our tax rates will go from 40.1 to approximately 45.1, then back down again.

Three of the Logan County school board members—Johnny Dawson, Phillip Baker and Tim Hall—attended the luncheon. Hub, who characterizes himself as being “business friendly,” said he has talked with board members about the plan and they are supportive. After the board formally approves taking steps to build the facility and enact the tax, public hearings will be held.

The facility also will be designed so that it can house classes for the area community college, Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College. Students at SKYCTC can earn an associate degree, complete general education courses for a four-year university, or earn certification in a variety of skilled service areas at the college, which already has three campuses in Bowling Green, two in Glasgow and one in Franklin.

“I talked with Dr. Neal (SKYCTC President Phillip Neal) about this recently, and he indicated SKYCTC will be happy to enter into an agreement with Logan County for use of the building for college classes,” Hub said.

Plans are for the new school facility to be available for use by the spring of 2017.

Staff members in technology centers are employees of the state and not of any one school district. The location of the facility should not affect their jobs.

Hub is very familiar with leaders of the Kentucky Office of Career & Technical Education. Dr. Dale Winkler, who heads the system, was a former assistant superintendent with Hub in Madison County. Hub also worked with and for Dr. Tommy Floyd, the Kentucky Department of Education Chief of Staff who will visit the Logan County Schools Friday.

Dr. Hub’s prepared remarks which he delivered at Wednesday’s luncheon follow:

The fact that Tom Harned and others from the Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD), and the Boards of Education of Russellville and Logan County have been discussing how to make our Area Technology Center (ATC) more viable to our students and communities, is a testament its outstanding legacy, its 50 year history, and the vision of the business and industry leaders in this room today.

On behalf of the Logan County Board of Education, we believe a new building, rather than renovating the current center, is the logical next step. A new ATC has been the vision of our Local Planning Committee for more than 8 years. Our Board of Education has purchased property, with road frontage on 68/80, and I’m honored to announce that we are prepared to take action moving forward to construct a new ATC, with groundbreaking one year from now, and completion of a new ATC in the spring of 2017!

With a new ATC, we can customize and personalize the experience for our students, helping to increase the number who successfully transition to college and career. Greater opportunities for our students to earn college credits in a variety of subject areas and training in multiple career fields will also be an option through a potential partnership with Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC).

Excellence keeps moving forward, and we must to be on the forefront of innovation and not lose a competitive advantage to other communities.

Completion of a new ATC will give us a competitive advantage and will be a tremendous recruiting tool for current and future business and industry.

A new ATC will be equipped to offer in-demand, high-tech, quality training. The new ATC will offer the kinds of high-tech classes that prepare students to compete for jobs in an emerging global economy. Additionally, we hope to partner with local business and industry to offer classes and training programs aimed at our adult workforce.

It takes everyone working together to provide a quality education for our students in Russellville and Logan County. I know this community values education and understands their investment, in the future of our children, will be the foundation of our future economic success, and that’s why we are sharing today, our intent to propose a nickel facility tax for the construction of a new ATC. This opportunity is a unique blessing of time and circumstance. Through community support of this facility tax, the state will match those funds, resulting in more than $9 million worth of debt service payments, which will cover more than half of the construction costs for a brand new ATC, scheduled to open during the spring of 2017. The stakes are high, but we’re talking about the dreams of our children.

We must continue our Capital Campaign to ensure that the new ATC is equipped with the newest, most advanced technology and instructional resources. As business and industry leaders, rest assured that your financial support will result in tangible benefits for our students and communities.

There is plenty of work ahead, with an opportunity for stakeholders from every group to provide substantial input. Moving forward, we pledge to be thorough and transparent.

Remember, the stakes are high…we are talking about the DREAMS of our children.

Educating our students and providing them with the very best college and career opportunities must be our priority as business and industry leaders in Russellville and Logan County.

I encourage each of us to contact our lawmakers, asking for additional funding, because I believe they will do what’s in the best interest of our students.

I encourage each of us, the business and industry leaders in Russellville and Logan County, to rally around this new opportunity to make a difference, not only for our children, but for the economic future of our community.

In closing, think about these words…

Vision without action is a daydream, but Vision with Action can change the world.

I hope you’ll support us as we try to change the world by bringing a new ATC to the communities of Russellville and Logan County!

 




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