Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 3, 2013

MARK MAYNARD: A jaw-dropping showplace

Mark Maynard
The Independent

CANNONSBURG — The new Boyd County High School is an honest-to-goodness jaw-dropping facility. No pretending is necessary.

It’s also quickly becoming a place of pride to students, faculty and an entire community.

There’s plenty to bust your buttons over with this $42 million high school, and there was a lot of involvement in making sure the first day of school was a successful one.

Consider it mission accomplished.

Students were on their best behavior and actually showed some uncommon housekeeping skills.

“One boy came up to me and said, ‘Mr. Frasure, there’s a piece of gum on the floor over there. Can I clean that up?’ When is the last time you ever heard that?”

Jeff Frasure, who was one of the faculty overseeing the first day in the new school, grabbed a piece of paper and scooped up the gum to deposit in the nearest trash can.

Students and faculty alike were beaming about this state-of-the-art facility that, well, rocks.

“I had kids saying ‘This is too nice to be a high school.’ That’s kids saying it,” Frasure said. “It’s been a smooth transition.”

It was out with the old and in with the new and by new I mean sparking-in-the-sunlight new.

This place shines.

It’s kind of like when you buy that first car. Nobody wants to put that first ding in it.

So far, no dings at Boyd County, which remains pristine.

The students were proud of being the first to go through the doors at the new high school.

“It was a long time in the making,” said Superintendent Howard K. Osborne. “We were worried about the traffic flow, but it worked out fine.”

Osborne was like a proud father and he should be. It was a lot of his vision that made the new high school a reality.

He deserves much credit for making this dream come true. Hard to believe that only a few years ago not everybody was happy with the job he was doing at Boyd County.

The new school is so big some students needed maps to find their way around.

Frasure, who was in on the design of the basketball gymnasium and weightroom, was another of the faculty beaming about the new school.

He gave me a personal tour to the amazing theater and chemistry labs, either that would be the envy of any college.

Chemistry teacher Kristy Blankenship described detail after detail of the labs that are sure to put Boyd County on the map when it comes to academic progress.

A dual partnership with Morehead State University will allow Boyd County High School graduates to head to college with 70 credit hours, Frasure said.

Everything about the place seems positive, right down to the attitude of those most affected — the student body.

Mike James, our education reporter and I arrived around lunchtime at the Lion’s Cafe where hundreds of students were dining. A commons area had another 50 to 100 students relaxing and using their electronic gadgets while waiting for lunch to end.

There are also culinary classes and those are attached to the kitchen area.

The thought process that went into the new high school is apparent.

“Our kids are the most blessed kids in the state of Kentucky,” said Athletic Director David Trimble. “They’ve been unbelievably respectful.”

“They are very appreciative,” chimed in Frasure.

The hallways weren’t nearly as crowded as in the old high school building. There are also elevators for the handicapped or injured to reach the upper floors.

The place has that “new car” smell to it, too.

Students were brought over a class at a time prior to Christmas break so they wouldn’t be walking into the place for the first time on the first day.

But that didn’t mean there wasn’t some oohing and aahing from practically everybody who entered this grand facility.

There is a respect for the past in the building with the names of the former schools in the Boyd County system.

But make no mistake, this is a modern facility I dare say has few equals in Kentucky.

It should be a place of pride for all of northeastern Kentucky.

Well done, Boyd County.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.