Martin County, Kentucky, getting new high school for fraction of the cost


    The new Martin County High School is scheduled to be finished by April 2019. (WCHS/WVAH)

    A new high school is in the future for Martin County, Kentucky.

    Work on the project has been ongoing for about a year and a half. With Wednesday being the first day of school in the county, for some students it was the first day of the last year they will spend in their current school building.

    The new school will replace Sheldon Clark High School and be called Martin County High School. It's a $30-million project that came about by accident, officials say. The former school was unexpectedly damaged by blasting from nearby road construction.

    "The building was old. It had some cracks," Martin County Schools Superintendent Larry James said. "No one could come in and say it was safe so we didn't have a choice."

    James said high school students were moved to a middle school building, and then planning began for the new facility. The county received $20 million in emergency funding from the state to build the school.

    "We're bonding $10 million for a $30 million school," James said.

    Construction of the new school has been underway for about a year and a half. The new building has more space and 40 classrooms. There will also be an aerospace lab for students to study drone technology. James said students will actually build drones in the lab at the school.

    "There's going to be flight simulators. It's a very large classroom," said Project Manager Shawn Nelson.

    The current high school has 550 students. For senior Lindsy Marcum, it's her last year at the current high school.

    "That means the world to me that they get to go to the new school because I know how it feels to go here and I want them to be able to go to the new school and like their high school years there," Marcum said.

    "I've just been here for so long. I just look forward to new things," Sophomore Carson Hanson added.

    School officials hope to start construction on the Area Technology Center this fall, then the high school part of the project is expected to be finished in April 2019.

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