EDA may be landlord of facility for college

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE — Discussions over the need for a post-secondary educational institution in Bullitt County has been on-going for years.

Classes offered by Jefferson Community and Technical College at the Buffalo Run campus are at capacity.

Bullitt County officials agreed years ago to provide leased property for a college facility at the intersection of Highway 245 and Interstate 65.

However, the lack of state funding for the construction of a facility has brought the project to a halt.

A new approach could be possible as officials announced plans at Tuesday’s Bullitt Fiscal Court meeting.

According to John Snider, director of the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority, there might be a way for that agency to own a facility and then lease it out to a post-secondary institution.

When Snider was hired earlier this year, one of the main goals he heard was the need for a college campus.

As the population continues to grow, Snider said there is a need for a permanent facility in the county.

“The need is here,” said Snider.

Working with EDA member Mark Stout and past Chamber of Commerce president Lou Ann Moore, Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts said she was pleased that progress has been made.

While nothing is in concrete, Snider said the process is moving forward.

“It’s very exciting,” Snider said of the possibilities.

Stout said that the community involvement is needed and the talks of years ago are finally at a stage where a brick and mortar facility might become reality.

Moore said the JCTC would be a major player in making this dream come true for the future of Bullitt County.

In the past, there had been some discussion in Frankfort about finding a private entity to build the facility and then to lease it to a college.

The University of Kentucky recently cut the ribbon on new dorm facilities where it was privately built and then leased to the college.

The shifting of students from the temporary facility to a permanent one is more than just having a building.

Snider said industry needs a trained work force. Providing a place for post-secondary education and a place for more vocational training is key to having a work force that is capable of serving a growing industrial base, said Snider.

Roberts said she is pleased that the county is moving forward with getting a permanent facility.

With the hard work of the committee, Roberts said a plan is now in place.

At this point, no details were released about financing the project or a timetable on when actual construction could begin.

Currently, JCTC operates the Buffalo Run campus off Cedar Grove Road. Construction is also underway at three high schools to provide additional classroom space for career and college readiness. There has been discussion that college courses could be offered in that space after normal school hours.