The original policy stated that, "No school or building constructed after Sept. 1, 1992, shall be named for an individual person or persons."
The policy was amended to add, "Except a person or persons who have performed lengthy, outstanding and meritorious leadership and contributions to the Jessamine County School System."
The board had to have both a first and second reading of the proposed amendment, which was allowed under law, according to board attorney Howard Downy.
"In the policy 05.1, it is permitted, under limited circumstances, to have the second reading at the same meeting for an emergency situation, which is evident," Downy said.
Board Chairman Karl Smith said the board took the move seriously.
"This is an action not taken lightly by this board. But, if you listen to the language in the motion we passed a few minutes ago, only Pete Royse would come close to meeting the criteria to earn such distinction and recognition in the Jessamine school district," Smith said.
Smith said his respect for Royse went far beyond what he had done for the school system over the years. He respected that Royse lived out his Christianity in his work within the system and in the community.
"I cannot let this special moment pass without saying to you personally and publicly how appreciatively I am for your Christian walk and character. I especially like that word character; it fits you well. Jesus placed supreme value on character because character is an expression of a persons true heart, and you're heart is good Pete Royse," an emotional Smith said. "The Bible also reminds us that the greatest heroes of faith are not those who achieve prosperity, success or power in life, but those who treat life as a temporary assignment and serve faithfully, not expecting their reward here on earth but in eternity.
"You've been an incredibly faithful servant, Pete Royse. You are a personal hero of mine in so many different ways, and I love you brother."
Board members also thanked Royse for his contributions, not only to the system, but to them personally.
"Pete has provided great leadership to all of us here where we can all say many things that he has done for us. He has provided guidance, leadership, frugality and dedication. His leadership in our school system has raised the bar, helping us strive for excellence, all the while remaining respectful - he's full of integrity," Pam Seales said. "I respect you Pete, and I rejoice today to be able to pay tribute, with all these people here, for you truly are an honorable man."
Eugene Peel, who has worked with Royse for many years, said he appreciated Royse's integrity.
"Looking back over that 25 years I've worked with you, never once did I have to wonder about your honesty and integrity. If you told us something, we could just put it in the bank; that's the way it was, and that's the way it had to be. And you don't know what that meant to me as a board member to have you sitting in that position," Peel said.
He said Royse's name was on every building in the district that he had a part in helping build, not just the one that would bear his name.
Board member JoAnne Rohrback agreed and called Royse her mentor.
"I love you, you know that. When I first came on the board you were the first person who sat with me and went over the budget with me in very great detail, and what a wonderful teacher you have been. You have mentored me, and I've enjoyed working with you so much. We've had some good times that we've really laughed and some times that we could have cried, but it has been a privilege that I will always keep and cherish," Rohrback said. "Pete, your name is on this building, but your fingerprints are on all of them."
After Royse and his family left the meeting, Smith challenged the assembled group to make sure future generations understood just who the man behind the building's name really was.
"While this building is going to carry Pete's name for generations to come, I hope that we make sure the generations we contact not only know the name, but help them to know who Pete Royse is," Smith said. "It's important that they know the man Pete Royse, and you can do that as friends of Pete."