Gov. Beshear celebrates opening of Letcher Co. Area Technology Center

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, along with other lawmakers and legislators came to Letcher County Central High School on Wednesday.

"This is the future of the Commonwealth of Kentucky," said Beshear.

Teachers, students and school officials welcomed Beshear for the ribbon cutting of the Letcher County Area Technology Center.

"This is just a tremendous improvement to letcher county and a tremendous improvement to a better work force, a better labor force," said Rep. Leslie Combs (D) of Kentucky's 94th Distrtict.

School officials said It took 12 years to get the facility built and secure funding for the $9.5 million building. Legislators credit Letcher County Schools Superintendent Anna Craft for working diligently to make it happen.

"We have been working with her to try to make this a reality since then, I have been involved in this since 2003," said Sen. Johnny Ray Turner of Floyd County.

Beshear helped with the final $1 million and he said he believed it was a good investment in the future.

"Our students are going to get the kind of skills and training they need to compete in this 21st century economy," said Beshear.

Beshear said while this is a big day for everyone in the school system, he wanted to make it clear that this is all about the future generations and what it will mean for them.

"Having one right here in Letcher County, to be able to educate the kids here, not only meaning that they can hold good jobs, but hopefully they will hold them right here."

Craft said it was worth the work and the wait.

"It is probably one of the happiest days of my life, today," said Craft.
"Just to see the students faces makes it all worth it."

Craft said she was unable to attend the groundbreaking years ago after suffering through two heart attacks.

"I am just so thankful to god that he saw fit to leave me here and get this project finished," Craft said.

The building is connected to the high school and offers eight different programs students can earn college credit through. Letcher County Central High School Principal Danny Vance said it the programs prepared students for college and the work force.

"Students can look around the building and take some exploratory courses their freshman and sophomore years and then they can decide what program they like best and do those their junior and senior year," said Vance.

County officials said they bellieve the economic gains would be great for the future.

"The great thing about this school is that they can gear the programs toward what we need in this area," said Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward.

Many credit the superintendent as being the leading force in the project.

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