Corbin Area Technology Center faculty and staff gathered with members of R.L. and Hettie Owens’ family Thursday to formally dedicate the building on the Corbin High School Campus in their honor.
The Corbin Board of Education approved a proposal in December to honor the Corbin businessman and community leader who was instrumental in bringing the facility to Corbin in the late 1960s.
“He went to bat for this area,” said retired CATC Principal Patty Crawford noting Owens’ efforts to persuade officials in Frankfort that the center should be constructed in Corbin.
Crawford said the center’s close relationship with the Owens family continues with R.L and Hettie’s daughter, Betty Sue Surmont.
“If I needed a piece of equipment, this woman provides it,” Crawford said of Surmont.
Current CATC Principal Chris Smith said that support continues.
“It is definitely well deserved,” Smith said of naming the building in the Owens’ honor.
Surmont said previously that her father believed in the hands-on skills training of the kind offered at the CATC and that he would be proud that the school board elected to honor him in such a manner.
“He would be tickled to death,” Surmont said.
A bronze plaque has been installed near the entrance denoting the building is now known as “The Owens Building.”
“I think it is important to recognize our community members who go above and beyond to help people in the community,” said Board Chair Kim Croley when the board voted to bestow the honor.
“He (Owens) felt that it was important for the area students and I think it has proven to be exactly what he thought,” Croley said.