John Aaron talks to the KSB Advisory Board

John Aaron, operations manager at the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB), talks about the school’s facilities upgrades during the KSB Advisory Board meeting. Photo by Joe Ragusa, Kentucky Department of Education, May 17, 2024

(LOUISVILLE, KY) – Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) staff updated the KSB Advisory Board on the facilities plan for the campus during the council’s meeting on May 17.

John Aaron, KSB operations manager, said the school just completed a five-year facilities plan where personnel upgraded several parts of the campus. Among the upgrades, Aaron said they replaced exterior lighting with brighter LED lights.

“It’s safer for our students to walk around at night,” said Aaron.

Plumbing has been fixed across several campus buildings, making some of them fully functional for the first time in years. Repairs to the campus’ HVAC system, which are still ongoing, allowed the school to start using the Ritchie Auditorium for the first time in decades.

Aaron said the upgrades have come with a significant cut in the cost of operating the school due to lower gas, water and electric needs.

He explained that over the next five years, the campus will undergo several more upgrades, including a new geothermal HVAC system to replace the current one that will take three to four years to complete. Aaron said repairs to the current system are necessary to keep it functioning before the new system is in place.

Several other upgrades are either planned or currently underway, including a new information technology room to better protect the school’s computer servers, new furniture for several buildings – including the dorms – an expanded parking lot that will be more accessible for wheelchair vans, upgrades to the food services building and new games for the recreation center.

Shannon Sparkman, the Kentucky Department of Education’s state schools director, said the department is collaborating with KSB on multiple initiatives. These projects aim to enhance resources for postsecondary readiness and involve collaborating with other state schools for the blind to gather and share valuable information.

In other business, the council approved a new chair. Virren Malhotra, the parent of a student at KSB, will now lead the council.

The next KSB Advisory Board meeting will be Aug. 15.