Carrollton campus expansion
hinges on General Assembly action
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (May 2005) Carroll County
Judge-Executive Harold Shorty Tomlinson envisions a well-educated
future for Carroll County residents. He would like to see the Jefferson
Community College campus in Carrollton expand to meet the countys
growing industry requirements.
by Don Ward
Jefferson Community College
campus on Main Street has outgrown
its space for holding classes.
Fifteen years ago, JCC moved into the downtown area onto
the corner of Fourth and Main streets. At the time, fund raising efforts
to purchase the current three-story facility included a gift of $800,000
from the Carrollton College Education Foundation. Classroom space and
parking issues have arisen since then, and one plausible solution is
to build a new campus at a different location.
Tomlinson said 20-25 acres is needed to adequately house the colleges
growing demands. Nearly 600 students were enrolled at JCC this past
fall, and 800 students were enrolled in adult-education courses.
Due to limited space, classrooms on the first floor have had to be subdivided,
and college chemistry classes are offered off-site at the Carroll County
High School. There is no extra space for a campus bookstore, nor do
faculty members have their own offices.
Parking has also become an issue that needs to be addressed for this
campus that sits so close to the Ohio River. Any time the river swells
its banks, this cuts down on the availability of parking for students.
Students must then park farther away in the downtown area. While merchants
have been accommodating, it does take up spaces their customers could
use, said Tomlinson.
The college started off small, but then really took off.
You get quality education at an affordable price, said Tomlinson.
A major advantage to a campus in Carrollton has been the availability
of a quality education obtained close to home.
On Jan. 25, Carroll County Fiscal Court awarded JCC $10,000 to be used
as seed money to expand the colleges outreach program. This project
is just in the preliminary stage, said Tomlinson. It would have to be
placed on the states six-year capital plan. It would then need
the approval of the General Assembly. The groundwork has been laid,
said Tomlinson, even though money for educational purposes is hard to
The college is a really big asset to the community, he said.
Expansion would occur in two phases: Phase I would involve land acquisition
and construction and carry a price tag of about $10 million. Phase II
would add equipment and furnishings and would add another $8 million
to the total cost of the project.
Tomlinson is searching for property that can be purchased at a reduced
cost or donated. One option is to acquire land from Camp KYSOC, which
sits directly across from the entrance to Gen. Butler State Resort Park
on Hwy. 227. Tomlinson has met with Camp KYSOC officials in Lexington
and said they were receptive to hearing his ideas.
Susan Carlisle, Campus Director for the JCC Carrollton campus, agreed
that this would be a favorable location for a new campus. Close access
to I-71 and the idea of partnering with the camp to bring about good
opportunities for both JCC students and Camp KYSOC make this an advantageous
location, she said.
The Kentucky Easter Seals Society Inc. runs Camp KYSOC. It has been
in Carrollton since the early 1960s. Traditional camp activities are
held at Camp KYSOC for children and adults with physical, developmental
and multiple disabilities. Camp KYSOC holds day camps and resident summer
Kerry Gillihan is president and CEO of the Kentucky Easter
Seals Society and Cardinal Hill Healthcare Rehabilitation Services,
two organizations that function together to run the camp. Gillihan said
he is willing to help anyway we can. This includes assigning
some acreage over to the county to be used by the campus.
Gillihan sees this as a positive action one that would enhance
education in Carrollton. The acreage has good visibility, is flat
and in general is what he labeled a good site for a campus. Gillihan
said the Easter Seals Society would do what it takes to make it
State Rep. Rick Rand, whose district includes Carroll County, said,
The real advantage of this project is that of its status to the
community through higher education. Education is the most important
thing that we can do as a community to help our citizens achieve their
In addition to regular class offerings, the college provides GED and
ACT testing, and pre-employment testing for North American Stainless
and other local companies. Students do not have to leave the county
to obtain a quality education for a high-tech job.
Rand said the campus provides access to higher education that
may not otherwise be available to many of our citizens. High school
students are allowed to enroll in accelerated courses that will prepare
them as they explore their higher education opportunities.
Both Tomlinson and Carlisle said that District 26 State Sen. Ernie Harris
is making this project a top priority for Carroll County. Harris said
a college is good for the folks, not just in Carrollton, but in
the three to four surrounding counties.
Harris said that the main objective of this expansion project is to
get it approved by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
Established in 1997, the KCTCS provides programs relevant to the workplace.
Its goal is to improve the quality of life for Kentuckians by expanding
opportunities provided by the states two-year public colleges.
The KCTCS focuses on continuing education, tailored to meet local needs.
The KCTCS has the final word on all additions and improvements made
to community colleges within the state. An overnight fix will not be
found; there certainly is a long road to go, said Harris.
If JCC were to relocate to the Camp KYSOC property, the college could
reach more people and help the existing industry, said Harris.
More businesses will choose to locate along the I-71 corridor in the
future, he said. Presently, JCC is the only community college between
Louisville and Cincinnati.
There has already been a tremendous economic growth in Carroll and Gallatin
counties over the last 20 years. In terms of this, Harris labeled the
counties a success story. With the good working relationship
established between elected officials, the Carroll County Chamber of
Commerce and organizations, such as the Rotary Club, the resources are
already there. But this is not a plan for Carroll County without KCTCS
approval, said Harris.
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