By Jeff Noble / staff writer
After four years of construction, renovations, additions, and finishing touches, the work on the building that houses Corbin High School is done.
Now it’s time for the community to see what it looks like — and to see the progress and promise it holds in educating future generations of young minds.
That comes Tuesday, as the school will hold a dedication ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the school’s location at 1901 Snyder Street.
Officials say the event is a time for all of Corbin to celebrate, and has invited the entire community to attend. Tours of the building will be available Tuesday evening, and immediately following the dedication, the Corbin Board of Education will hold its regular meeting.
For those who remember the original structure back in the second half of the 1970s, Corbin High principal John Derek Faulconer notes you won’t recognize it.
“This building looks entirely different than the same Corbin High School I walked through two years ago. It’s not the same for those seniors graduating in a couple of weeks. And entirely different since it was first dedicated in 1974. It’s been a very long time coming,” he said Wednesday during a tour of the new facility.
And yet, as more things change, the more things remain the same. Even with a structure in touch with the technology and teaching methods of the 21st Century, Faulconer pointed out one thing remains constant.
Along with the new rooms, bigger and brighter spaces and the shiny new floors and ceilings, tradition still echoes with a bang throughout the hallways.
“That ‘Redhound Pride’ is still there. The structure has changed. The building has changed. You can feel it from the time you come in the main entrance and come inside. The Redhound logo greets you as you walk in. And we have that ‘family first’ mentality here, and that’s nice, especially in this day and age. When you can send your son or daughter to this school, they’re not a number. I’ll take care of those kids like I do my own,” he said.
During the last few years, the normal pace and activity of the students, faculty and staff was altered, because of the work. Despite the interruptions and inconveniences, Faulconer said they rolled with the flow and continued to soar.
“This building itself has looked different during that time. There’s been additions being worked on, there’s been construction, and the face of the building has changed. These kids could not get comfortable because of the work done. But their attitude didn’t change, nor their test scores. They were always upbeat, even when everybody around them were hectic,” he noted.
Tuesday’s dedication will be something special for the school, and for Corbin. Something else will be special for a group of students who spent their high school years watching the building transform itself into the polished jewel it’s become today.
It’ll be special for the seniors — the Corbin High “Class of 2013.”
“It’s now finished. And some of them are sad, because they wish they could be around to enjoy the new building. But they’re troopers, and they love the new building. They’re the first class to graduate since all the construction started and the building’s now completed,” Faulconer stated.
In fact, one piece of work will have a special meaning to this year’s seniors. While touring the school’s new cafeteria, Faulconer brought up its connection to them, and for other senior classes in the coming years.
Seniors call it “The Wall.”
“When they were building the new part of the cafeteria, they had to build a sheetrock wall to separate the students from being in the construction zone. When the work was done, there was a comment from the construction crew that ‘The Wall’ looked the very same when they took it down, as it did when they put it up around five or six months ago. The was blemish-free the entire time. The construction crew couldn’t believe it. No graffiti, no names written. There was a small bump with a small hole in it. The crew figured it would be covered up with writing and graffiti. The crew said it was a testament of how respectful these kids are to this building,” he added.
But some pieces of “The Wall” did get into the hands of the school, for sentimental reasons. Faulconer has one piece of it. Painted like a throwback to the late 60’s and early 70’s, that piece of sheetrock has become a sign, and a rallying cry for the classes between 2009 and 2013, when construction was constant.
It reads, “This School Is Too Small For Walls!”
Another piece — a larger one — will soon have a lot of fresh signatures written on it.
“Well, we took a piece of the wall, and I had one of our senior art students design what it would be like for this year’s graduating class. It’s got the Redhound on it, and there’s places around the Redhound where the seniors can sign their names to it. It’s already been framed and it will hang in the new cafeteria as a reminder of the Class of 2013,” said Faulconer.
It was Corbin High senior Jordan Jung who took that piece of sheetrock. With her design, Jordan transformed just another piece of the wall into a plaque that will be a vital piece of future class traditions.
She worked on that plaque in the old art room, on the second floor. It’s where the high school’s new Culinary Center is now located. During an interview Thursday, Jordan said that while the Art classes taught by Mrs. Brenda Daniel “had to move around a lot, it didn’t hinder the classes. It worked out okay.”
But she admitted the old art room was cramped. “It didn’t have that much space. It had tables, a few windows, one potter’s wheel and it was difficult carrying things to other parts of the school. We’d have art shows in the Media Center. We just had one last week, and to get ready for it we’d have to carry everything from the art room, down the stairs and into the Media Center.”
Jordan mentioned all this while showing off the new Art room, located just below the new cafeteria. While a worker was finishing off putting in new cabinets in the room, she said the new art place is a sight to behold.
“Compared to the old art room, it’s about twice the size of the old one. There’s plenty of class space, a computer lab for digital arts, plenty of storage space, two potter’s wheels, a room for clay to dry, plenty of windows and an outdoor classroom. It’s all handicapped accessible and is state of the art. Mrs. Daniel talked with the architects on the room’s design, and she got input from the art students. I would have liked to had a class there, but I’ll come back to visit. I’m a hometown girl. A Redhound I will always be,” added Jordan.
After she and the Class of 2013 graduate this month, Jordan will go to major in Art this fall when she attends Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond. Her sister Ladry will be a senior next school year, and the Class of 2014 will be the first group to fully enjoy the new building.
The work is done. The dust has settled and has been cleaned out. Now the new Corbin High School is ready to be shown for all to see, to use and to enjoy.
As Faulconer put it as he stood next to the sign that greets visitors on Snyder Street, “Our goal is to have this building to be a hub for the community. We’ll have class reunions at the school, we have community organizations using it, and we want this building to be a hub of activity. We have pride in this building, and Tuesday will be a moment of celebration. To look where we’ve been, and to forge ahead to the future. It’s a proud moment for the all of this community. See you at the dedication.”