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Park will honor late Taylor school board chair

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Board votes unanimously after Cook makes recommendation

By Zac Oakes

 

Although the establishment of a park located near the recently demolished section of the old Taylor County Elementary School has just begun, a name was chosen for the eventual park at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Taylor County Board of Education.

Upon request of Taylor County Schools Superintendent Roger Cook, the board voted unanimously to name the park in honor of former longtime Taylor County Board of Education Chairman Tony Davis, who passed away unexpectedly in May.

According to Cook, the park will be named the “Tony Davis Meditation and Relaxation Park.”

Davis represented Taylor County’s 4th Educational District for more than 20 years and was a close personal friend of Cook’s and was highly respected among both past and current board members.

“I love all my board members, but Tony Davis has a special place in my heart,” Cook said in an interview with the Central Kentucky News-Journal in May.

Although Cook said Davis — like most people — had some apprehension about “getting rid of” the old elementary school, he knew what needed to be done.

“We just got to thinking that since he was so passionate about the entire school system, and specifically that part of it, we would name the park that we previously talked about after him,” Cook said. “... I think it is a great tribute to Tony Davis. He was a great board member and someone we really miss.”

Cook announced the creation of a park in the area last month in order to honor the many students, faculty, and staff of the old Taylor County Elementary School.

The front portion of the building was demolished as a phase in a $2.3 million dollar project to transform the building into the Central Kentucky Career Center.

Funding for the project is coming through a grant from Kentucky’s Work Ready Skills Initiative, a program passed by the Kentucky General Assembly and administered by the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet with support from the Cabinet for Economic Development.

And while there is not yet a clear timetable on when the park could be finished, Cook reminded the public that brick pavers are available for purchase for $100, which would include three lines of text that can be used to pay tribute to a student or employee of the school. Sponsorships for park benches and flower beds are also available.

If anyone is interested in these, they can contact the school district at (270) 465-5371.

In other news from the meeting, Cook praised the district’s students and teachers for another strong performance on state testing. The results were recently released, and although the state of Kentucky no longer provides districts with composite scores and places them into categories, Cook said the district fared very well overall, despite unusual circumstances last year which involved students moving to different school buildings in the middle of the year.

“I’m really proud of the faculty and staff for stepping up and getting students settled in and doing a great job all around.” Cook said. “We had some increases in test scores and they don’t have any categories we can put ourselves in, at least this year, but I can tell you this: if they had categories, we would be in the highest ones.”

The district also approved a six-month lease agreement with Houchens Properties, Inc. to use a vacant building in downtown Campbellsville for storage.

“We needed some storage while we are building and after we did the demo and moved out some stuff,” Cook said. “Houchens was gracious enough to agree to this lease agreement.”

Cook also said Humana donated nearly $750,000 worth of furniture to the school district. Cook thanked Houchens and Cox Interior for assisting in the pick-up and delivery of that furniture, free of charge to the district, according to Cook.

“We like free,” Cook said.

Trips for the TCHS wrestling team to Atlanta, Georgia, from Dec. 8-10 and for the TCHS girls’ basketball team to Destin, Florida, from Dec. 26-30 for tournaments were also approved by the board.

Personnel Report

Retirements — Renee Abell

New Hires — Josh Gumm, grounds supervisor; Matthew Norris, TCHS instructional monitor; Melissa Keith, assistant archery coach

Substitutes — Jason Bland, Amanda Gabehart, Jackie Sapp, Valeera Bright, Larry Crowe, Melody Coleen Hunt, Eddie Sharp, and Diane Walters

Taylor County Board of Education meetings are regularly held at the Board Office on East Broadway at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month.