By Ronnie Hickman
For the Daily News
INEZ, Ky. — Beautiful weather, a great turnout and the first step in building a much-needed high school was taken Thursday as the groundbreaking was held at the Holly Bush site in Martin County, Ky.
Close to 100 people, which included the Martin County Superintendent of Schools Larry James, board of education (BOE) members Kathleen Price, Mickey McCoy, Lois Walker and Gary Ball. (BOE member Roger Harless could not attend due to having a doctor’s appointment.) Others on hand included State Senator Johnny Ray Turner, State Rep. Chris Harris, Adam Rice from Congressman Hal Rogers office, Lisa Collins from the Kentucky Education Association Finance Department, Ron Murrell from Ross Tarrant Architects and Mike Crum, representing the Martin County Judges Office.
Its been nearly three years since Sheldon Clark High School was closed and leaving many wondering if a new school would ever be built. But Thursday was the first step in making the new high school become a reality. Inez First Baptist Pastor Sam Schmidt gave the invocation and Superintendent James was the first to take the podium. Due to hot weather speakers kept comments short.
“This is a great day for Martin County and all the students,” James said. “I want to thank all these people here, as-well-as the U.S. House and Senate for getting the $1.3 million for the water and sewer. We are now on our way to having a new state-of-the-art high school for all of Martin County to be proud of.”
Rep. Harris said that all people hear is the negatively, nothing positive, but this is something positive and “I am glad to have a hand in seeing this school built.” I remember getting a phone call from Mike Callaham. He told me that more money was needed to get everything that was wanted. That started the process of getting more money and great things are happening in Martin County and I am glad to be part of it.”
Senator Turner, who does not represent Martin County, said that he as a lot of good friends in Martin County namely Roger Harless and Shelly Hardin and having coached at Magoffin County, McDowell and Johnson Central, he coached many games in old Sheldon Clark High School gym, and didn’t win very many. He spoke very highly of Codell Construction, who is the site manager for the new school and called it a great day for education.
Ron Murrell from Ross Tarrant was the final speaker and closed with “in 2014 when we were hired to design the new school, it was hurry and wait with the board of education. We have had some moments, but this a great day for not for Martin County students.”
Hinkle Construction is scheduled to begin doing the site work this week according to Superintendent James.
(Ronnie Hickman is a reporter for the Mountain Citizen in Inez, Ky.)