Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

December 13, 2012

Cause for pride

After years of waiting, new Boyd County High to open

ASHLAND — The completion of something that has been planned and anticipated for well more than a decade will be celebrated Thursday when the new Boyd County High School is officially dedicated in a ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday plans to travel from Frankfort to be on hand for the celebration.

A large gathering of Boyd County residents also should there because it will give them their first opportunity to tour the newest high school in Kentucky. We are confident they will be impressed.

Classes will begin in the new school after the Christmas break, and administrators, teachers, staff and students can hardly wait. The current high school is located directly across Ky. 180 from the current high school, and for more than a year, teachers and students have watched the new school being built on the hill across the highway in increasing anticipation of when it will open. Well, the wait is almost over.

Boyd County school administrators first began expressing the need for a new high school more than 25 years ago, but the closing of five aging elementary schools, the construction of Ponderosa Elementary and the renovation of Summit Elementary had a higher priority, as did the closing of the old Catlettsburg Middle School. Until all those changes were made, construction of a new high school remained on the backburner.

In those early years, progress on the new school was so slow it was nearly nonexistent. Ironically, State Rep. Rocky Adkins used his considerable political skills to secure state funding for a bridge across East Fork to reach the property for the new high school from Ky. 180. The bridge was built and for more than a decade it truly was a “bridge to nowhere.”  Since there was no road up to either side of the span, it was for years just a bridge that existed for no apparent reason.

But Boyd County school leaders and teachers saw the bridge as a sign of a brighter future. They knew that when this “bridge to nowhere” finally did go somewhere it would be to a state-of-the-art high school that will be the envy school districts throughout the region.

Boyd County High School Principal Rhonda Salisbury has a bold prediction about the response of first-time visitors to the new school: “It will take your breath away. When you come around to the main entrance, there’s a huge circle. You walk through the lobby and you’re in the media center, which is the heart of everything.”

Embossed on cornices ringing the library are the names of Boyd County communities, what Salisbury calls “a real celebration of our community.”

The new school also has state-of-the-art kitchen facilities for the culinary program. A 450-seat auditorium will provide an excellent setting for plays, musicals, and band and choral concerts. The schools music and drama departments should be greatly enhanced by the new building.

The gymnasium includes an upper-level walking track that will be available for public use. The gym also has two new scoreboards and is flanked by training and weight rooms.

The school is designed on an academy concept, so one wing will be mainly devoted to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and the other to general academic courses. There also is a freshman academy.

To enhance security the school has a network of about 100 security cameras all linked to a monitoring station in the office complex. The school also is built to be energy efficient, something that has increased the cost of construction but will save the district many thousands of dollars in utility bills over the life of the school.

While touring the new high school Thursday, people should take time to congratulate Boyd County Schools Superintendent Howard K. Osborne on being one of two educators honored by the Kentucky School Boards Association with its Kids First Advocacy Awards. Since becoming superintendent in 2005, Osborne has worked tirelessly to improve the school district. Not waiting for a science and technology magnet high school serving gifted high school students from Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Lawrence and Elliott counties to at the Roberts Drive campus of Ashland Community and Technical College to become a reality, Boyd County High School under the leadership of Osborne and Salisbury launched its own STEMS academic program allowing students to earn college credits while in high school.

With state funding for new school construction flat, Osborne in 2008 convinced the Boyd County school board to approve a nickel increase in Boyd County property taxes to pay for the new school. That that tax hike was approved without loud protests from county residents is a tribute to Osborne’s leadership and to the commitment of school board members to improving the educational opportunities of students. With a new school and a more demanding academic program, it is now up to the students to seize the tremendous  opportunity given them .

 No one can ever accuse Boyd County school officials of moving too rapidly to build a new high school. They waited patiently for years until all the obstacles standing in the way of a new school — with the primary one being funding — were scaled. Their patience and perseverance are about to be rewarded with a new school that should rightly become a source of community pride.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO region with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • In Your View

    Letters to the editor

    April 3, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Dismal numbers

    The good news is that the health ratings of all but two area counties improved in the latest ranking of the state’s 120 counties. However, before we pat ourselves on the back for those improvements, the overall health of residents of counties in northeast Kentucky remains rather dismal. Yes, we are improving but we still have a long, long way to go.

    April 2, 2014