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The local community college is launching a new satellite.
A groundbreaking ceremony for Walter T. Kelley Campus, a satellite campus of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College, was Thursday near Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in Leitchfield. The campus will expand class options for Grayson County students.
Previously, Grayson County students attended class at Grayson County High School or in Elizabethtown.
But with almost 750 Grayson County students, ECTC President/CEO Thelma White felt a Grayson presence was necessary, said Steve Meredith. Meredith is chief executive officer of the medical center, which is a partner with ECTC in building the facility. White also mentioned a need for growth at the ceremony.
“We knew that we could do even better,” she said. “And we’re here to do that.”
White suggested renting a space, Meredith said. But he and the medical center’s board of directors wanted something more.
Twin Lakes is paying for the $1.4 million facility, mostly through a trust left by Walter T. Kelley, a prominent Grayson County businessman. Kelley founded Walter T. Kelley Co., which produced beekeeping equipment. The trust was left to the medical center and Meredith said the board considered it to be the perfect use for the money.
“It was one of the shortest conversations we’ve ever had,” Meredith said of the decision to use the money for the campus.
Meredith and Board President Barry Cannon spoke of the campus’ importance to the county. Grayson County has suffered during the Great Recession, Meredith said, reaching 17.5 percent unemployment at one time. But the county has seen growth, culminating in this building.
“This is a thriving community,” he said.
Cannon said about 7.5 percent of Grayson County residents have earned more than a high school diploma.
“What we’re doing here today, we’re making millionaires,” he said.
The facility is 11,500 square feet and is scheduled to be completed mid-2013. It’s planned to include classrooms, computer labs, a testing center, a conference room and faculty and administrative offices.
The campus was designed by Jerry W. Herndon and James Davis of Lexington. The contractor is Alliance Corp.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747.