Corbin Independent Schools’ officials and members of the community officially brought the curtain down on the school system’s construction and renovation efforts Saturday at the dedication ceremony for the Corbin Traditional Building on Kentucky Ave.
After a $7 million renovation to the school and neighboring Edwards Gymnasium, it now serves as the home for fourth and fifth grade classes.
“A bit belated, but we wanted to wait for the school to be as presentable as it can be,” said Superintendent Dave Cox.
Plaques in the foyer of the building denote the building’s current use as the elementary school, while paying tribute to its history.
Opened in 1917, the building initially housed Corbin High School. The Class of 1918 was the first to graduate from the building.
Following a renovation, it became the home of Corbin Middle School until 2018 when the new middle school opened on the former St. Camillus Academy property.
“It has been the most versatile building in our district for many years,” Cox said.
Sixth grade moved to the new middle school, and third grade moved to the addition to the primary school.
After a state inspection showed the traditional building to be in the best shape of the three buildings, the board elected to renovate it to serve as the new home for fourth and fifth grades.
“This building has been woven into the community DNA for many, many years, and rightfully so,” Cox said. “So this is one of the reasons that this project was so special to all of us. We did not want this building to go away.”
The project included the installation of a new HVAC system, new electrical services, new paint, doors, hardware, floors and ceilings. In addition, the Corbin City Commission agreed to close a portion of Eighth Street and deed the property to the school system to allow for the construction of a security vestibule connecting the school and gymnasium.
The exterior of both buildings were cleaned and new windows were installed. The gymnasium received a new floor.
The old floor has been saved and Cox said plans are to make key chains from the wood and sell them as a fundraiser.
“You would be hard pressed, if you are from Corbin or have been here for any amount of time, to not have some story that’s related to this building or this gym,” he added.
Board Chair Kim Croley said former Superintendent Ed McNeil, who attended Saturday’s ceremony, ingrained in her that, despite the conventional wisdom, facilities do matter in education.
“Would you not want your student go to school in a building that shows people around care?” Croley asked adding that with the completion of this project, every Corbin student in grades K-12 is in a new or newly renovated building.
“Our buildings in our city are the heart of our school system. Not because of what they look like, but because of whom they take care of and what they produce. Amazing students who become amazing citizens,” Croley said.