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The state legislature hasn’t paid for a new postsecondary facility for several years, but that did not stop community leaders in Grayson County from unveiling the area’s newest college campus Tuesday.
The new Leitchfield campus of Elizabethtown Community and Technical College is open and will house classes beginning in August. The building was dedicated Tuesday as the 74th campus in the Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges System.
It was built through a partnership with Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center. The medical center’s board of directors used a trust left by prominent businessman Walter T. Kelley, for whom the building is named, for the project.
Barry Cannon, president of the board of directors, said the project is “a culmination of a dream.”
The campus, including land, cost about $3 million.
The 11,450-square-foot facility includes four general classrooms, a science lab, a computer
classroom and an assessment area. Classes begin Aug. 19, and 27 general education courses will be offered. Some sections of courses already are full, ECTC President/CEO Thelma White said.
Stephen Meredith, chief executive officer emeritus for Twin Lakes, said the campus will give Grayson County some needed direction in the future.
“Today, Grayson County made the decision to chart its own course in the world,” Meredith said.
Grayson County has lost many jobs over the past decade, and the population has become less educated and poorer, Meredith said. The campus is needed to help build its economy.
It will serve as the county’s own Statue of Liberty, he told those assembled, “a beacon to anyone who wants to further their education.”
“Education opens eyes, education opens minds, educations opens new worlds,” he said.
There are more than 600 students from the area that attend ECTC, either at the main campus or at classes held at Grayson County High School. KCTCS President Michael McCall said having to drive several miles for college courses can make the difference between whether someone enrolls or not.
“Having a physical presence in the community means so much,” McCall said.
White said the partnership between the medical center and the college has been one of the greatest in which she’s been involved.
“We just went to work,” she said. “And here we are today.”
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747