West Point Asks HCS to Lease School Building | Education

As of June 2020, the former West Point Independent School District school building has not been used by students, let alone city officials and residents.

Hardin County Schools absorbed the school district after WPI determined they were no longer financially viable for a variety of reasons, including population depletion.

West Point Councilman Richard Ciresi, along with West Point Mayor William Ash, asked the HCS School Board about the possibility of the city leasing the school building at its regular meeting on Thursday.

Ciresi said the school building was once a place where “the past met the future” as community members gathered there. He told the council that the community still needs another space that offers that.

He said the city currently does not have Americans Disabilities Act-compliant meeting space, but he also said the building could be used as a tornado shelter, clothing closet, tutoring and adult education.

John Stith, HCS’s director of operations, said on Friday the building had been used here and there, including summer meals for city students, and for long periods of non-traditional teaching a teacher stood went into the building to use the library students and tutors.

Stith also said they hired someone on site to occasionally oversee the building to check on the facilities and mow the grass.

Ciresi said Friday he hopes various adult education classes can be provided to help uplift West Point residents.

He said that while the school building was open, committees and government groups regularly held meetings there because it was large and accessible.

Due to recent damaging tornadoes in western Kentucky, he said some West Point citizens wondered where they would go if a tornado hit their town, as some live in mobile homes and old homes. He said the school building had a basement and could be used for that purpose.

Ciresi said HCS offered a lease on the building to the city, but he said the city then faced financial problems.

Now, he says, finances are better under control and they are now looking to agree on a three-year lease with the district.

“It’s a huge, beautiful, empty building in the middle of a small town, and it’s kind of ridiculous to sit there empty,” he said.

Stith said this lease agreement is more complicated than usual because the building is tied to third-party bonds issued in 2018 that the state is mostly paying for.

He said the bonds typically expire in 20 years from the date they were sold, around 2038.

Due to the bonds, the building must remain an educational facility in order for the state to continue to make payments on the bonds. The city would also have to pay the bonds if it bought the building.

Along with these aspects, the Ciresi also said they want it to be an economic engine for the city, including using it for concerts, maybe in the gym, and possibly renting it out for basketball training. -ball or volleyball. He also said the kitchen could potentially be rented out to companies for prep or testing.

“The whole project is trying to use government resources to be able to create a compassionate and useful space that is also an economic engine for a small community that needs an economic engine,” Ciresi said.

Charlie Wise, chairman of the HCS board, said at the meeting that he was interested in the deal and said the board might have something to work out by the next meeting of the board. board of directors. If all goes well, Cerisi hopes they will be able to use the building by April 1. He also said the city is currently raising funds to use for the building in case new facilities need to be purchased, and they have raised $10,000. but they hope to raise $50,000.

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or [email protected]

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