OJ Stapleton Editor
November 1, 2013
At this week’s Logan Economic Alliance for Development (LEAD) annual business and industry appreciation luncheon, Tom Harned announced big plans that his group has for the Russellville Area Technology Center (RATC) building.
At the gathering, Harned, the executive director for LEAD, said that the group is spearheading a massive fund drive to revamp the RATC building.
The plan is to raise $2.5 million locally for the proposed $10 million renovation project.
“We will be asking the state through legislative action for the other $7.5 million,” Harned said. “We don’t anticipate that it will happen quickly or easily though. This is a big project and it will take some time to accomplish it, but we are ready to go to work on it and we will continue to work on it until we get it done.”
LEAD contacted educational architectural firm Ross Tarrant four months ago and brought them on board to draw up plans for the new RATC.
Former RATC principal Eric Keeling had drawn up plans for what the new building should include and Harned said that Ross Tarrant used that as a starting point for its work.
“We approached them and asked that they take the design work that had previously been done and take it to the next level,” Harned said. “They did that and came up with a cost projection of $8.5 million.”
Harned said that other $1.5 will be used for furnishing the newly revamped RATC with the furniture and educational equipment it needs to be a state of the art training facility.
The plans call for a large new addition to be built on to the back of the building which can be used as an adult training facility in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. It will be able to be closed off from the rest of the facility so that it can be used after normal hours.
“One of the main objectives is to set the building up for dual use,” Harned said. “It will be a traditional high school on one end and can be used for adult education on the other.”
A new entrance in the front with administrative space is also planned.
The building was originally built in 1965 and opened in 1966. Since then, it has only received routine maintenance. So a renovation is long overdue.
“The new building will present itself as a cutting edge tech center and that will attract more students to it,” Harned said.
The current building is already one of the most used in the state.
It has some 650 or so high school students from Logan County, Todd County Central and Russellville high schools.
“And it currently has a waiting list for students who want to be out there,” Harned said. “There has been a recognition lately by everyone from the state down to the local school systems that career readiness is just as important as college readiness and you are seeing that out at the RATC.”
The next step will be to put together a fund raising committee in order to get started raising the $2.5 million that is needed locally.
“Once we get that committee together, we’ll make some announcement about what our plans are for raising the $2.5 million,” Harned said. “This is a project where everyone in the community will have a chance to participate.”