Bardstown City Schools (BCS) has been awarded a $10 million-dollar grant from the School Facilities Construction Commission to upgrade the district’s career and technical facilities. The grant is part of Governor Andy Beshear’s Better Kentucky Plan to invest $75 million to renovate vocational schools. More than 30 school districts throughout the Commonwealth applied but only nine school districts were awarded a Local Area Vocational Education Center (LAVEC) grant. Bardstown City Schools was one of just six school districts awarded the full $10 million.
“Receiving this grant will support our students and our belief that each of our students deserve a meaningful and personal education,” said Dr. Ryan P. Clark, superintendent of Bardstown City Schools.
The district will use the grant to bolster renovation plans for the Fifth Street campus. Initial renovation plans include adding a campus media hub, major upgrades to Bardstown High School and converting the first floor of the former Bardstown Elementary School building into a centralized career and technical education (CTE) center. The grant will also help fund equipment for the ten CTE concentrations the district currently offers.
“When construction began on our new Bardstown Elementary School, our plans for the old elementary school ramped up,” said Clark. “All the planning we did prior to the LAVEC grant being offered put us in a great position to request the full funding amount for facilities renovations for our CTE concentrations.”
When deciding which school districts to award grants to, the School Facilities Construction Commission looked at criteria such as the district’s student enrollment in job creation and training programs, quality of the district facility plan, the age of the current vocational education facility and the local unemployment rate.
Over the last three years the district has made significant investments in CTE opportunities for its students. The first investment came in the spring of 2019 with the hiring of a Career and Technical Education Coordinator to create opportunities for students to explore potential careers. Since then, BCS has added Teaching and Learning, Health Science and Business pathways. As BCS expanded on-campus programming, the district’s CTE enrollment for the 2020-2021 school increased by 28 percent with more than 670 students enrolled in a CTE course. The LAVEC grant will help the district further enhance its CTE programs by providing the funding to make the structural and technology upgrades needed to serve BCS students into the future.
BCS is currently working with Sherman Carter and Barnhart Architects to finalize renderings. The renovation work is expected to begin in the fall of 2022.