TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

February 21, 2011

Former utilities building to serve new purpose


The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By Michele Baker / Staff Writer

The new year brought a new name to the Corbin Education Center and now the alternative school will have a new location.

Formerly known as Whitley Day Treatment, the Corbin Education Center will soon have its own building. The Corbin School Board voted Thursday to buy the old City Utilities Building at 901 South Main Street for $225,000 from the City Utilities Commission.

The building will also be shared by the school system’s maintenance department. Corbin Education Center Principal Rich Prewitt said, “The purchase price for the building was like a two for one deal. It will give us a great facility and will also give the maintenance department a great place.”

Assistant Superintendent Darrell Tremaine agreed.

“We have been searching for about two years for the right building,” Tremaine said. “We needed a place for our maintenance department because it has outgrown the building it’s in, plus we needed a place for the Corbin Education Center. So the building fits both needs.”

Another person happy about the new building is Corbin Middle School Principal Ramona Davis. The Corbin Educational Center is now housed in the middle school’s gym. Davis said the extra space they will soon get back is needed.

“We are very overcrowded right now,” Davis said, citing an increased enrollment at the school.

“This will also open up space for our counselors who didn’t have an office before and for our speech therapy,” Davis said. “We will probably move several exploratory classes there and we won’t have to share classrooms. We are really excited about it.”

Prewitt said the nice thing about the building is that it gives the school a new identity.

“With our new location, it puts us in the forefront of knowing who we are, and what we are doing. I don’t think the average person in Corbin would know a lot about us, but now they will.”

Prewitt said the school serves Corbin Independent Schools, Whitley County Public Schools and Williamsburg Independent Schools.

“This service we provide is for children who for some form or fashion are not making it in a regular classroom setting,” Prewitt said. “It is an alternative to a regular middle or high school until students can get their lives on track and transition back to their old schools.”

The next step for the school is to clean the new building and get it ready to move in, hopefully in time for summer school in June. Tremaine said the main thing would be getting the building up to code so it can house students.

“There is a big difference with code issues for a place of employment where you have adults working than having students there,” Tremaine said.

Tremaine said some walls will have to go up to the roof and there will have to be firewalls. The doors will all have to be fire rated and the bathrooms will have to be made handicap accessible.

There are plans to upgrade and remodel the building.

“The rooms will be quite different from a regular public school with the layout and design,” Prewitt said. “It’s going to be a nice place for kids.”

The building will be split into two sides, one for high school students and one for middle school students. There will be four classrooms, offices for Prewitt and four counselors, a computer lab and a big utility room that will house the cafeteria.

The utility room will be in the original bay area used by the utilities commission. Prewitt said the kids will eat there, but there will also be room to play basketball or do archery during inclement weather. He said the sliding doors may be kept so they can be opened to enjoy nice weather, but they may also be bricked over.

Prewitt is also happy the building will have an outside courtyard where classes  can be held in good weather and the students will be able to get some physical exercise such as playing volleyball or basketball. As a former science teacher, he also wants to have things for the kids like a weather station and a bird trail.

“I feel like the nicer and more friendly we can make our building, the easier it will be for us to get the kids on the right track and transition them back to a different place,” Prewitt said. “I am trying to make sure we have an alternative type of school as good as anywhere in the state.”