(DANVILLE, KY) – Margaret D. Marshall Elementary School, a state-of-the-art facility on the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) campus designed to meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing students, was dedicated May 14 with a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Carolyn Gulley, daughter of the late Margaret D. Marshall, and Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis cut the ribbon to ceremonially open the new school, the first new building to open on the Danville campus in about 30 years.
“It is really very inspiring, humbling and heartfelt to see all of you here in honor of my dear mother,” Gulley said during the grand opening ceremony. “She was well known as a dedicated, impeccable and organized teacher who had a strong passion and motivation to teach deaf children to succeed in life.”
Several members of Marshall’s family spoke at the ceremony, after which Lewis spoke about Marshall’s legacy as he dedicated the new building.
“Margaret Marshall was very clearly committed to the success of her students, and I’m hopeful that every time we see her name or spend time in that building that we’re reminded of her success and that our commitment to the success of our students doing whatever it takes for our students to be successful is renewed.”
Two of Marshall’s former students and a former KSD administrator also spoke before an audience of about 500 people, many of whom toured the new school following the ribbon cutting.
Margaret D. Marshall (1906-2003), the building’s namesake, served at KSD for 39 years, including 31 years as a teacher. A South Carolina native and a graduate of South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind and Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University), Marshall came to KSD in 1937 and worked as a houseparent until 1945, when she began teaching black students during a time when the school was segregated. She continued to teach at the school after classes were integrated in 1960 and taught until her retirement in 1976.
“As a teacher, she loved without prejudice each and every student she had the opportunity to work with,” said Gulley, who also taught at KSD. “She was a strong advocate for the work being done at KSD.”
The 16,500-square foot building includes classrooms, a multi-purpose room, a small kitchen area and dormitory space for 20 students. It will be ready to serve students in grades K-5 at the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Unlike other schools across the state, Kentucky School for the Deaf and 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. The Kentucky General Assembly set aside $6 million for the elementary school project in the last biennial budget.
The Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet’s Department for Facilities and Support Services oversaw the project. Others working on the project included RossTarrant Architects, Lexington (prime architect); Mackey Mitchell Architects, St. Louis (design consultant); Woodbine Construction, Louisville (general contractor); Shrout Tate Wilson, Lexington (mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers); Brown + Kubican PSC, Lexington (structural engineers).
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, while 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.