Knox County, Kentucky will soon have new educational opportunities with the long-awaited grand opening of the Southeast Knox Campus at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, October 12. On Monday, October 10, classes will begin in face-to face, hybrid, and online formats. Classes include medical assisting, nursing assistant, welding, plumbing, education, and criminal justice, as well as a selection of general education courses.
The Campus will be housed in the former Barbourville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a $2.5 million facility formerly owned by the Forcht Group which was donated to KCEOC Community Action Partnership.
“CEO Paul Dole and Becky Miller, who coordinates the WIOA programs, invited me to come look at the building and see whether we could use it,” said Southeast President Vic Adams. “I immediately knew that we had a great opportunity before us.”
According to a 2019 article published in US News & World Report, Barbourville is considered one of the country’s “education deserts.” Although it has one private college, Southeast—the closest public institution—is over 30 minutes away.
“Southeast has not been represented in this area. Technical and health care programming have not been represented,” said Adams.
The building has been renovated using approximately $6.5 million in grant monies. During the Bevin administration, the College secured $1.8 million from the Work Ready Skills Initiative. In addition, KCEOC and Southeast co-wrote grants from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for $3 million and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for $1.5 million, totaling $4.5 million.
To purchase equipment, Southeast obtained an additional $2.25 million through ARC and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). KCEOC earmarked $400 thousand from the state budget for overages and more equipment.
“We have been able to renovate and equip this building with $8-9 million without using any KCTCS or state-supported dollars,” said Dr. Adams. “We also have grants that will fund personnel and equipment maintenance for a three-year period.”
According to Adams, most programming will be fast-track, competency-based and customized for companies. The facility will have open, versatile spaces to accommodate employer needs as well as events for community organizations. In addition to college programming, the facility will house dual credit courses for area high schools. Southeast has a lease agreement with KCEOC who will retain ownership of the building.
“Right now, some equipment is still trickling in,” said Dr. Adams. “Because of the pandemic, we have had supply-chain issues, so we haven’t been able to open as soon as we had hoped.”
The College will begin offering phlebotomy classes in November and computerized manufacturing and machining in late fall or early spring.
For more information, contact Derek Collins, administrator coordinator for the Knox Campus, at 606-670-9429 or firstname.lastname@example.org.