Students, administrators and construction crew members break ground on the new elementary building at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville. The new building is replacing the previous elementary school that closed two years ago.
Photo by Bobby Ellis, March 13, 2018

(Frankfort, KY) – Officials ceremonially broke ground March 13 for a new elementary school at the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) in Danville.

The 16,500 square foot state-of-the-art facility is designed with the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students in mind and includes classrooms, a multi-purpose room, small kitchen area and dormitory space for 20 students.

“Every square foot of this new building is designed around the safety and instruction of students – from the way the rooms are designed to the way the mechanical systems are integrated,” Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said.

The new elementary facility replaces Walker Hall, built in the early 1970s, which closed two years ago.

“No longer will our youngest students have to leave the building to eat or attend classes. That will save instructional time,” Pruitt said. “This new building will allow us to segregate the youngest students from the older ones. However, most importantly, it will provide our youngest deaf and hard of hearing students and their teachers with an environment that is conducive to excellent teaching and learning. Our students deserve this. And now they will have it.”

Unlike other schools across the state, the Kentucky School for the Deaf and the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville do not receive money from the state’s basic school funding formula known as SEEK, nor do they qualify for the state School Facilities Construction Commission funding. Instead, they rely on money from the state’s general fund.

“This project has been years in the making,” Pruitt said. “Lawmakers set aside $6 million for this project as part of the last biennial budget. And we are thankful.”

The Finance Cabinet’s Department of Finance and Support is overseeing the project. Others working on the project are RossTarrant Architects, Lexington; Woodbine Construction, Louisville (general contractor); Shrout Tate Wilson, Lexington (consulting engineers); and Brown + Kubican, Lexington (structural engineers).

Contractors have started ground preparation for the new elementary school. The building is scheduled for completion in December.

As yet, no name has been selected for the new elementary school. Representatives of the school’s Deaf Advisory Board, school alumni and the School for the Deaf Foundation have submitted several name ideas to the commissioner. He is reviewing their suggestions and will announce the name of the facility at a later date.

The Kentucky School for the Deaf serves about 100 deaf and hard of hearing students from preschool through grade 12 on its Danville campus. Students from throughout the state attend the school; some live on campus during the week, others attend as day students. The school also operates a statewide outreach program to support deaf and hard of hearing students in their home school districts.