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Extraordinarily strong public showing for Satellite Campus
Community shows solidarity for the satellite campus, with many of the 50-plus present speaking, many calling it a dream come true
Click on headline or story with large Shamarie Claiborne photo album
By Ed Waggener
There was a extraordinarily strong showing of public support, with community leaders from almost all walks of life packing the Adair Annex Basement for the meeting, a preliminary to Tuesday nights Adair Fiscal Court meeting.
For most in the packed courtroom, it was being described as a dream come true.
It was for Superintendent Alan W. Reed, who said that since the 1970's, the constant question has been: Why doesn't Adair County have a vocational school? Now he said, Adair County will be getting the very next best thing, a satellite campus of Lake Cumberland Area Technology Center. The main campus, in Russell Springs, has long served Adair County students.
However, Mr. Reed and several others in the audience said, as short as the bus ride is to Russell County, it still was a tiring ride which suppressed interest in vocational training.
Judy Keltner, Columbia, KY, representing Lake Cumberland Area Development District, Russell Springs, KY, told the group how pleased she was at the turnout. And that, she said, was the purpose of the meeting. Over 50 people signed the register, which is part of the evidence of strong community support, as funding elements are moved along.
In the audience, also, was Darryl McGaha, Columbia, also a member of the LCADD staff. He also spoke of the event as being a dream come true, and a very important element of the "Work Ready Community" application. "We showing that we are making progress," he said.
Superintendent Reed told the audience that the satellite campus, which will offer welding for students, now means that Adair County seniors will be better equipped to get jobs immediately upon graduation. "We are making them Career and College Ready. As we see it, it will strengthen the local colleges and universities. These graduates can enter the workforce with good to great earnings, and with those good earnings for entry level jobs, they will be able to attend and pay for college as they go."
He noted that with the grants for the satellite campus, Adair County will get a 3-to-1 advantage with its dollars. Only $325,000 of the school's $1.2 million cost will come from the District, and that will come from allocated capital funds, not from School Taxes.
He singled out the work of the Columbia/Adair County Chamber of Commerce and the C/AC Economic Development Authority and their leaders for the work they did getting Adair County's successful Work Ready Community application accepted, with a Working Ready in Progress designation already realized.
Doug McCammish, representing both groups, was present, and commented that the campus is a wonderful thing which will help in the EDA's search for new payrolls.
Also present was past C/AC Chamber President Ron Heath, who had done a spectacular job producing the soft skills improvement plan for the Work Ready Application, putting the concept in understandable terms and outlining a plan for improvement. The community support will be a big factor, he said, in getting full accreditation as a Work Ready Community. "It will move us closer to that dream," he said.
Testimonials endorsing the campus were volunteered like sentence prayers at an enthusiastic revival.
Adair County Judge Executive Ann Melton expressed delight at the outpouring for the meeting. "I just wish we got this many at all our Fiscal Court meetings, she said, adding, "I want everyone to know that Adair Fiscal Court is on board. This is a wonderful thing for Adair County."
Columbia Mayor Mark D. Harris gave the project his blessing, as did Columbia City Councilman Ron Rogers, and June Parson, the only announced candidate for Mayor of Columbia, who said the campus definitely fills a need, and commended the Superintendent and Board for making it happen.
District Judge Mike Loy told the audience, "This is the moment we all have been waiting for," adding a hidden benefit - that he saw it as a way to broaden appeal of school for all Adair County students, reducing his workload and that of Director of Pupil Personnel in their endeavors to enforce mandatory attendance laws.
Debra Wimmer, art teacher at Adair County High School, and Cassie Davenport, Columbia, art teacher at Green County High School, gave the audience another aspect of the campus, its benefit to artists and sculptors.
Richard Walker, former Adair County CJE, said he fully supports the satellite campus. "It is desperately needed," he said. "It will help young people prepare, and it will help the Economic Development Board. Not every student needs a college degree to succeed," he said, "and this offers a opportunity for them."
Ann Martin, President of First & Farmers National Bank in Columbia, welcomed the announcement and commended the Superintendent and School Board for making a reality.
Darrell Treece, Superintendent Reed's predecessor and in whose tenure the consolidate campus became a reality, spoke in support of the technical school campus.
Troy Young, Adair County High School Principal called the satellite campus a "Great opportunity, a great thing," and expressed his belief that having classes on campus will greatly improve participation. At the meeting the audience was told that as many as 500 ACHS students may be served by the program.
BR> Winston Keltner, an independent businessman with Master Welder's credentials, told the group this prepares young people for the future. "The more we train young people for the future, the better future they will have." He related the problems he encountered getting training. The rides on the busses to Russell County and the out of town - even out of state - travel required, and expressed gratitude that this will no longer be required.
Shamarie Claiborne stepped out of her official role as Adair County School District Media Publicity Coordinator, and, speaking a mother, she told the audience that welding is a passion for her sons, and now they can realize their dreams right here in Columbia.
Joe Rogers recalled being a member of the 1976 FFA welding team. In his large farming operation, he still uses MIG welding skills. "This is definitely a plus for our county," he said.
Marsha Walker, long time advocate for core academics and vocational training, as well as a longtime District 2 School Board member, said the campus offers lots of new opportunities.
Judy Keltner told those present that the hearing has to do only with finalization of the satellite campus applications. The other component of vocational training, in the health sciences is a done deal.
This story was posted on 2013-12-12 04:57:35
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