CRESTWOOD, Ky. (July 2004) Oldham County is soon to have its
very own cultural mecca with the August opening of the Oldham County
Arts Center in Crestwood. The center will become a multi-purpose venue
for the Oldham County community and school system.
We are hoping that we will be in the building by July 1,
said David Thurmond, director of instructional support, arts and humanities
at the Oldham County Board of Education. The board purchased the former
Crestwood Baptist Church property at the corner of Floydsburg Road
and Hwy. 22 in Nov. 2001 for $1.6 million. The church agreed to lease
and maintain the facility until Jan. 1, 2004, while the board used
the facility for special events during this time.
by Don Ward
arts center is located in the former
Crestwood Baptist Church building.
A certificate of occupancy for the 45,000-square-foot facility cannot
be issued until a series of fire and safety code renovations required
by the Kentucky Department of Education has been completed. The board
officially resumed ownership of the facility in January 2004 and immediately
began Phase I of its renovation project.
Phase I work consists of fire, security, and safety code improvements
and asbestos abatement. The building is receiving new locking hardware,
a fire alarm system, a sprinkler system and other improvements that
will allow it to meet local, state and educational building codes,
Once the necessary inspections are completed, Phase II of the project
will begin. This consists of continued renovations and conversion
of the remainder of the facility for arts and educational purposes.
Amenities include a main stage theatre, art gallery, music, dance,
drama and art studios.
Louisville architectural firm K. Norman Berry and Associates have
handled the facility renovations. Berry and Associates have developed
architectural plans for many Kentucky and Southern Indiana cites.
Projects completed within the last five years in Oldham County include
Oldham County High School renovations, North Oldham Middle and North
Oldham Elementary Schools.
The firm has amble experience with educational facilities, having
completed many K-12 projects within the last 15 years, said Steve
Eggers, a partner in the firm. Eggers stressed the fact that renovations
will be completed over a period of time, due in part to funding availability.
Dynegy Inc., a company that made a financial agreement to give $565,000
a year for 20 years to Oldham County Fiscal Court, is funding the
project. Fiscal Court will give $200,000 a year of this funding to
the board project to cover the cost of purchase, maintenance and operation
of the center. Money raised through grants and individual contributions
will fund the renovation project. Thurmond said this will be a long-range
project, occurring in five phases, with an estimated total cost of
The center will serve a duel purpose as a school, offering high school
credit for a limited number of courses, and as a joint school-community
arts education center. Arts programs will be offered during the day,
after-school hours and on weekends. Classes in dance, drama, visual
art, music and possible culinary arts will be offered for both youth
and adults. Artists from the region will teach the after-school community
The district and the schools generally offer a large array of
professional development, both in the summer and throughout the year,
said Thurmond. Topics range from integrating the arts into the classroom
to training on appropriate practices in writing, to curriculum and
unity of study development. The center presents the opportunity for
Oldham County to provide an expanded space for these types of activities,
since the current district and school facilities are overcrowded.
Programming and class schedules have not been finalized yet, said
Thurmond, but the classroom annex is expected to open by August 2004.
The center will be available for rent by individuals and organizations.
The facility has always been viewed as a possible, temporary home
for classes from overcrowded area schools. One of these schools, Camden
Station Elementary School, will occupy six to eight classrooms at
the center to provide instruction for approximately 200 kindergarten
and first-grade students.
A new elementary redistricting plan will go into effect in fall 2005
when a new school opens, Kenwood Station Elementary School. It will
be located on the south campus just north of South Oldham High School.
For the first time in years, Camden Station Elementary will
fall below 100 percent capacity, said Thurmond.
Community input has been sought all along for possible uses for the
center. Many presentations have been made throughout the community
over the past two years, and a community survey was conducted to provide
ideas centering on the kinds of events the community is interested
in. We believe the Arts Center will become one of the most important
quality of life enhancements made in our community in recent years,
The center will also provide a permanent home for the Oldham County
Arts Association, Oldham County Community Adult and Family Education
Programs, many district professional development programs and Jefferson
Community College classes. Thurmond hopes to have local artists
work showcased by Nov. 2004 in one of the centers five art galleries.
We are in our seventh year, and have never had an office space,
said Arts Association president Mary Klausing. Klausing said the association
hopes to partner with the center in fall 2004 to hold the groups
annual art show. A Paul Williams concert is also in the works for
October, she said.
By partnering with the school board, the Arts Association can offer
more formal educational programs. Klausing is excited to have this
type of commitment from the board to offer to the students and the
community of Oldham County.
There are a lot of artists in the county, she said. And
not just visual artists, but also photography, literature and dance.
The center will provide a new venue to display their works and establish
a permanent center for groups such as the Arts Association in Oldham
For more information contact Thurmond at (502) 222-8880
or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: www.oldhamcountyartscenter.com.