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By JACOB BLAIR
The News-Democrat Intern
The first kickoff event to help recruit donors for the new building project as well as display features of the new building’s layout at the Jefferson Community and Technical College Carrollton campus will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 24 at the General Butler State Park Conference Center in Carrollton.
JCTC Carrollton campus director Susan Carlisle said the current campus has outgrown its 12,454 sq. ft. of available space and can no longer expand its programs without new construction. The campus will build a new facility across from General Butler State Resort Park on Hwy. 227.
“We just do not have the space anymore,” Carlisle said.
Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson said the project to first obtain a community college campus began in the late 1980s and the state gave $250,000 in financial support to open the campus in the early 1990s.
Tomlinson recalled taking 25 notebooks with 1,300-1,500 letters asking for a new campus to Frankfort during one of the budget sessions in the past decade where the state agreed to fund the campus. However, Gov. Ernie Fletcher used his line-item veto to nix the project.
Even though the Kentucky General Assembly agreed to fund the project during this budget cycle, Carlisle said the local community has to raise $4 million before the Kentucky General Assembly will contribute $12 million to the project.
This is a new and different procedure with the community having to fundraise 25 percent of the project before the state contributes 75 percent, Carlisle said.
This event, expected to draw between 80 and 100 people is invitation-only, but Carlisle said there will be plenty more events and opportunities for donors to contribute to the project.
In an ideal world, Carlisle said the community’s goal would be to raise the money by this December, well before the state’s mandated deadline of December 2015, with classes beginning at the new campus in the fall of 2016. “It’s a very aggressive goal,” Carlisle said.
Ruth Baxter, board member for the Carroll County Community Development Corporation, said the new building would allow instructors to train students for the jobs that exist here.
“The industries provide a solid economic base with jobs and are going outside of our immediate local area (to hire people),” Baxter said.
Baxter said the local area is the six service counties of the JCTC Carrollton campus – Carroll, Gallatin, Henry, Oldham, Owen and Trimble counties.
Two CCCDC committees formed a task-force composed of education and business industry leaders to identify the programs in the local community that JCTC needs to train students for as well as what kinds of space those programs require, Baxter said.
The task-force recommendations helped lead to the building’s architectural design and the project proposal that was presented at the Kentucky General Assembly by Rep. Rick Rand and Sen. Paul Hornback, she said.
“We’ve got a challenge ahead of us,” Baxter said. “We hope everyone will support the project, regardless of whether people give $1 or $10,000.”
Tomlinson said the impact of a new campus would have a lasting effect.
“It will probably be the most important thing we get done here not just for the future of Carroll County but for the region,” he said.