Old high school could become apartments

By: Marcus Conroy Email
By: Marcus Conroy Email

Letcher County officials are looking to transform an old, rundown high school into an assisted living center for seniors.

The old Jenkins High School was built in 1912, and still stands out in the city's downtown. However, the students left close to 40 years ago, and most of the building is rotting.

Judge-Executive Jim Ward and many others are hoping to save it.

"It should be finished, it should be used for something," said Pelma Dixon.

93 year-old Pelma Dixon taught at Jenkins High School for two years, and sent all four of her children here

"They loved it, they loved it," said Ward.

Three of the back rooms are a senior citizens center, but the rest of the building has gone unused for decades. Ward says the county has spent money to keep up the building, but is left with one question.

"Do we let it sit and run it back down and lose the money that we've put in it? Or do we sell it at a reduced price and make a service to the people here in Letcher County," said Ward.

He says the county has talked to a firm in Lexington to buy and renovate the building, which would become an assisted living center for seniors.

"It's gonna create some jobs, and bring a needed service to the community. So to me it's a win-win situation," said Ward.

Dixon is excited the building has a chance to be saved, but says she plans to stay in her own home if the apartments are built.

Judge Ward says since the county took over the building, officials have invested about $1.5 million. He says he is waiting to hear from the state how much the building is appraised for.

Then a decision will be made in the fiscal court.

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