(LOUISVILLE, KY) – L.P. Howser Hall, a dormitory on the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) campus, was reopened Aug. 9 following an extensive renovation. Members of the Howser family joined Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis and KSB Principal Jackie Williams for a grand reopening ceremony.
Howser Hall, which opened in 1983, had been closed for several years. The building opened to students who returned to campus Sunday for the start of a new school year. Renovations included a redesign of student living spaces, recreation areas, common areas and the student health center.
The building will house KSB’s entire residential population of about 50 students in grades K-12 and will be used for other functions such as short-term programs and retreats.
L.P. Howser (1909-1990), the building’s namesake, served as a teacher and principal at KSB from 1946 to 1956 and as its superintendent from 1956 to 1974. He was a pioneer in the development of orientation and mobility for blinded veterans during World War II and brought those skills to students at KSB. He recognized the role of residential programming and its relationship to the total educational process.
Howser’s daughters, Jeanne Howser McCutcheon and Nancy Howser Binn, attended the grand reopening along with members of their families.
Unlike other schools across the state, Kentucky School for the Blind and Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville 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 about $4 million for the renovation of Howser Hall, with additional funding coming from the Kentucky Department of Education.
The Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet’s Department for Facilities and Support Services oversaw the project. Others working on the project included K. Norman Berry Associates Architects, Swope Design Group (interior design), Shrout Tate Wilson, Louisville (mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers); Senler Campbell & Associates Inc. (structural engineers) and Marksbury Cornett (general contractor).
Kentucky School for the Blind serves about 60 students from preschool through grade 12 on its Louisville campus. Students from throughout the state attend the school; some live on campus during the week, while others attend as day students.
The school’s mission is to provide comprehensive educational services to all Kentucky students who are blind and visually impaired from birth to age 21. KSB operates a statewide outreach program that supports proficient student performance by assisting local school districts in reducing barriers to learning associated with a vision loss. It also offers short-term programs in which students can receive direct and intensive instruction for their vision needs while remaining enrolled in their home districts.