HAZARD—The Perry County Board of Education met Tuesday morning for the monthly board meeting to discuss possible plans for the old Dennis C. Wooton School building as well as character education classes to be offered after school in the district.
Melinda Joseph-Dezarn with the architect firm Ross Tarrant Architects presented the board with information concerning possible ideas brought up at previous board meetings as to what to do with the former Dennis Wooton school building and land.
“At the last board meeting you asked me to work on gathering some information,” she said.
Different options discussed for the space have been to sell the building, demolish it and sell the land, or to have a baseball field built on the land. Currently, the Perry Central baseball team uses the Perry County Park’s field.
“That field is perfectly adequate but we can’t spend any funds on it because we don’t own it,” Superintendent Jonathan Jett said.
Joseph-Dezarn said the preliminary probable cost for demolition on the building would be $207,000, and that a baseball field would only fit on the land if the building were demolished.
“Whether it’s a baseball field or just a vacant lot I think it’s worth more (with the building demolished) than it is now,” Jett said.
Jett had been adamant that he does not want to leave the building to become an eyesore for the Airport Gardens community of Perry County.
“The concern I have is, every day that building sits open there’s more stuff likely to happen,” he explained. “They’ve already busted a window out and took an air conditioner out. It’s impossible to keep people out of those buildings.”
Jett said he visited the building earlier this month and noted further concerns as to whether the building would even be usable due to the disrepair it is in currently.
“There’s water standing in one of the classrooms, I mean, the roof is just leaking terrible right now. I was told not to turn the lights on in the library because sparks would come out of the ceiling,” he said.
Board chairman John Combs said interest had been expressed to him in the building by LKLP, though he was not sure if the organization would be using the facility for an extended period or not.
“I can’t see it being cost effective to try to sell that facility and then somebody not move in immediately and it come back on us,” Jett said. “My recommendation would absolutely be to demolish that building.”
The board did not vote on the issue at the meeting, and Combs suggested the board members take a week to think on it and see if there is any other interest in the building.
In other business, the board was introduced to a new employee in the district. Kristie Collett was hired in July to fill the needs for college and career readiness in the district, especially at the high school.
“I feel great about being here,” she said. “This is where my two boys will go and anytime you have an invested interest you have a sense of pride and a sense of wanting to do the best job that you’ve ever done.”
The board also approved after-school character classes to begin being held by former Kentucky State Police Trooper and Pastor Chris Fugate.