KSD facilities committee gets more time

March 03, 2004|GARY MOYERS

The committee charged with developing a facilities plan for Kentucky School for the Deaf has been given more time to accomplish its task.

Committee chairman Mark Ryles told the group at Tuesday's meeting a "work team" has been formed by the Kentucky Department of Education to study recommendations made by a stakeholders' committee in a report delivered to the state Board of Education two weeks ago.

The team will attempt to summarize more than 800 program recommendations made by a stakeholders' team, and the local facilities' committee will then use the summaries to merge program requirements with physical plant needs.

"The roadblock for us is the program summary," said Ryles, a representative from the state facilities office who is also working with a similar facilities' committee for Kentucky School for the Blind. "It would be a mistake for us to move ahead without a program summary."


The amended timetable calls for the facilities' committee to present a progress report to the state board of education in April, while Ryles said he expects the work team to present recommendations in May. Originally, the committee was working with a May deadline to submit its final report.

"We hope to have action by the state board at the June meeting with regard to programming," he said. "Once we have that action by the state board, we could come back and make our recommendations on facilities at the August meeting."

The committee plans to forge ahead in the meantime. Ryles cited several chores that could be completed while waiting for the program recommendations.

"It has been suggested that we take a tour of the (KSD) campus as soon as possible to familiarize ourselves with what we have here," he said. The committee agreed to break up the campus tour into two parts, with the first one coming at its next meeting March 16. One half of the tour will include the buildings that are currently being utilized; the other would tour unused facilities.

"This would be just a walk-through tour, not a formal architectural evaluation," said Ryles.

As part of the tour, the committee voted to invite representatives from outside agencies that currently collaborate with KSD or have expressed an interest in any property that may be deemed surplus. Ryles mentioned the Ephraim McDowell Foundation, the agency that acts as purchasing agent for Ephraim McDowell Regional Hospital, the City of Danville and Boyle County governments, and Danville, Boyle County and Lincoln County schools.

The three school systems currently work jointly with KSD in various programs, while the Ephraim McDowell Foundation, through its director, Harry Nickens, has publicly expressed interest in acquiring unused KSD property that may be declared surplus by the state after the facilities process is completed.

The committee has not made any decisions regarding the property, and will not until the end stages of the process.

"I think it would be beneficial to determine interest by those groups in future collaborations with KSD," said Ryles, adding that includes any other agency that has interest in working with KSD either in service partnerships or by possibly utilizing unused KSD facilities.

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