Smith delivers big for Magoffin school project

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The Magoffin County High School project found itself a big winner coming out of the recent state legislative session.  The 2014 budget session, which sets the spending course for Kentucky over the next two years, line itemed $5 million additional dollars for Magoffin County Schools to go toward the new Magoffin County High School project.

The planning for a new Magoffin County High School began following the devastating E-F3 tornado that struck Magoffin County in March 2012.  The school district was left with Herald Whitaker Middle School completely destroyed and severe damage to Salyersville Grade School and Magoffin County High School.  During the months that followed, local school officials partnered with state and federal officials to devise a plan to build a new high school while moving the middle school to the existing high school.  This would allow the school district to substantially lessen campus overcrowding and move existing facilities out of the flood plain.

Magoffin County Superintendent Stanley Holbrook commented at the time that, “We look at this as an opportunity to take lemons and make lemonade.  The tornado was an awful experience but maybe we can work hard and come out of it for the better.  We may never have an opportunity ever again to do something like this for our young people.”  

The pre-planning was a tedious, time consuming endeavor where multiple designs for the project were made, based on the level of funding the school district was able to receive.  Dollars from insurance, local taxes, state, and federal sources were called on to complete the project.

The $5 million allotment placed in the state budget will allow Magoffin County schools to ultimately construct the initially desired design resulting in a 35 million dollar educational campus that will include a state of the art high school and sports complex.

The $5 million line item was not included in either version of the House or Senate budget but was added during the early Sunday morning hours by Senator Brandon Smith, R-Hazard.  Smith who recently acquired Magoffin County during the recent re-districting added the funding for Magoffin County during the conference committee where House and Senate leadership met to finalize a state budget.  Magoffin County High School was one of only three schools in the Commonwealth to receive this type of funding.

Smith admitted it wasn’t an easy endeavor but one worth the fight.  “To make our case in the budget I had to make the conference committee understand the scope of the devastation to the Magoffin County school system.  This will allow the people of Magoffin County the opportunity to have a state of the art educational facility.”

Smith was also not bashful about the priority this project had.  “This project was a top priority for me.  I understood very quickly how important this school was to the children in the county.”

Smith also complimented Superintendent Holbrook and the Magoffin Board of Education for their constant communication and overall “vision” for a better Magoffin County.