Laurel County man to restore former Sue Bennett College

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

LONDON, Ky (WYMT) - It is a property that has stood the test of time. The Sue Bennett College first opened its doors back in the late 1800s before closing for good in 1997. But after more than a decade, this London landmark is getting a second chance at life.

Few people know more about this property than Jim Hays.

"I was born here on the hill in 1954. I have been here 60 years," said Hays.

For him, the thought that this property might be torn down was all the motivation he needed.

"I am not interested in plastic houses and condos, after 60 years, I tell people, I say, I have owned the place for 60 years. I just now got the deed," said Hays.

With a little help, he bought the school his father once ran as president for several years.

"My main goal right now is to get the facades of the buildings back to what they should look like, what they did when my dad was here and I was here," said Hays.

Laurel County resident Donna Horn-Taylor said she knows he will do the place justice.

"He knows the history. He knows the physical layout. He knows what it has taken to maintain," said Hays.

For alumna Joyce Parker, she is thankful men like Jim want to restore her school to its former glory.

"It was like stepping back in history. There is so much history in these buildings and then to have Jim as the narrator, it made it even more exciting," said Parker.

Hays does not deny it is a challenge but it is one he is happy to take on.

"Old buildings are fixable. A lot of people are afraid of them but not me," said Hays.

Hays tells WYMT he wants to restore the property and then use it in ways his community can benefit from.

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