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A Home For The Arts

Oldham Arts Center
gets off to good start

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(April 2002) CRESTWOOD, Ky. – Through the cooperative efforts of the Oldham County Board of Education, Dynegy, Inc. and Oldham County Fiscal Court, Oldham County has found a viable outlet for an Arts and Education Center.
Last year the Board of Education bought Crestwood Baptist Church, located at 7101 Floydsburg Rd., for $1.6 million. David Thurmond, director of instructional support, arts and humanities at the Board of Education, is spearheading this project.
Superintendent Blake Haselton said Thurmond was chosen to coordinate this project because of his past experience in the arts. That included a position at the Kentucky Center for the Arts and the Governor’s Cabinet for the Arts and Humanities. “He was a natural choice,” said Haselton.

Art Cover

Thurmond said the board paid a reasonable price for the property. He said that compared to building a new education facility from the ground up, this was a better financial option.
At present, the church facility houses a 3,500-square-foot banquet and multipurpose room, a 600-square-foot fully equipped kitchen, a gymnasium with walking track, a 500-seat performance area with stage, and approximately 8,000 square feet of instructional space with rooms for offices, rehearsals and conferences.
Thurmond said this project would be funded due to a “long-term donation through Dynegy.” Fiscal Court has granted to the Oldham County School System a percentage of the expected $565,000 annual amount from Dynegy.
Oldham County Judge-Executive John Black said that Fiscal Court “agreed to give $200,000 a year for 20 years,” to the school board. “We certainly realize the importance of our schools,” he said.
Tim French, a community consultant with Dynegy, said he sees the new power plant acting as a good corporate citizen. “Dynegy is committed to paying a self-imposed higher tax (to Fiscal Court),” he said.
“It was very generous for Judge Black and the court to do this,” French added. “Dynegy feels thrilled that we are able to help the school system. Dynegy likes the idea that the whole community can take part in this endeavor.”
Now that funding has been provided, Thurmond said substantial renovation would need to occur before the building could be used. An estimated $250,000 would cover the cost of updating building codes, wiring and other items, he said.
The school board will lease the property to the church, which in turn will continue to operate and maintain the building until Jan. 1, 2004. At that time, the renovation process will begin.
Haselton said that the main purpose in purchasing the church was to alleviate overcrowding in several schools. This extra classroom space is needed within the school district to accommodate students from Camden Station and Crestwood elementaries, and South Oldham Middle School.
Thurmond said there are many other options for the building. Possible uses include creating multipurpose classrooms, rooms for Oldham County Adult and Community Education classes, an Oldham County Arts Academy that would provide fee-based, after school instruction, and office space for the Oldham County Schools federal program staff, such as Exceptional Childhood Education.
Sandra Graves, president of the Oldham County Arts Association, said an arts center would provide the association with stability and visibility. “It would give us a home where we could network with other associations,” she said.
She added that there are a number of excellent arts groups within the county, but they do not have a central location from which to operate. With a center in Oldham County, these individuals and groups would not be forced to drive to Louisville to find a creative outlet.
“This is a fantastic boon to the Arts Association,” she said.
Thurmond said he would like to see such a positive response from the community for this project. “It offers lots of opportunities for the community. We really need this in our community.”
higher tax (to Fiscal Court),” he said.
“It was very generous for Judge Black and the court to do this,” French added. “Dynegy feels thrilled that we are able to help the school system. Dynegy likes the idea that the whole community can take part in this endeavor.”
Now that funding has been provided, Thurmond said substantial renovation would need to occur before the building could be used. An estimated $250,000 would cover the cost of updating building codes, wiring and other items.
The school board will lease the property to the church, which in turn will continue to operate and maintain the building until Jan. 1, 2004. At that time, the renovation process will begin.
Haselton said that the main purpose in purchasing the church was to alleviate overcrowding in several schools. This extra classroom space is needed within the school district to accommodate students from Camden Station and Crestwood elementaries, and South Oldham Middle School.
Thurmond said there are many other options for the building. Possible uses include creating multipurpose classrooms, rooms for Oldham County Adult and Community Education classes, an Oldham County Arts Academy that would provide fee-based, after school instruction, and office space for the Oldham County Schools federal program staff, such as Exceptional Childhood Education.
Sandra Graves, president of the Oldham County Arts Association, said an arts center would provide the association with stability and visibility. “It would give us a home where we could network with other associations,” she said.
She added that there are a number of excellent arts groups within the county, but they do not have a central location from which to operate. With a center in Oldham County, these individuals and groups would not be forced to drive to Louisville to find a creative outlet.
“This is a fantastic boon to the Arts Association,” she said.
Thurmond said he would like to see such a positive response from the community for this project. “It offers lots of opportunities for the community. We really need this in our community.”

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