First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear announces grants for Olive Hill Education Center Project

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, May 18, 2011  
Contact Information:  Elizabeth Roach

OLIVE HILL, Ky. – First Lady Jane Beshear joined local officials today to announce funding for a community investment and energy efficiency grant for the city of Olive Hill.

A $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) administered by the Department for Local Government (DLG) was awarded to renovate the old Olive Hill High School, which will house a public library and satellite campus for the Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC). An Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) of $125,000 will go toward energy updates at the center.

“I am proud to present this funding on behalf of my husband for a renovated community center in Olive Hill, which will provide valuable literacy and educational opportunities for residents,” said Mrs. Beshear. “The public library and classrooms will be important technological, academic and cultural resources for the community.”

At this time, the city does not have any publicly accessible technology centers for community residents. The public library in Grayson is more than 40 minutes away from Olive Hill.

The city is working with the Olive Hill Historical Society and the Carter County Library Board to renovate the approximately 8,100 square-foot former Olive Hill High School building. Built in 1929, the structure is owned and operated by the historical society.

“This new community asset will return long-term dividends in terms of providing new educational opportunities for all ages and also offer a multi-purpose community center facility that folks in Olive Hill can be proud of,” said DLG Commissioner Tony Wilder. “We are proud to be a part of making this building more energy efficient.”

To date, approximately $1.1 million has been invested in the property toward rehabilitating the second story gymnasium/auditorium, providing a new roof, refurbishing more than 70 windows, providing a new electrical panel and constructing two American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible restrooms on the second floor.

The CDBG funding will complete the renovation of the second floor for classrooms and the third floor as a library. Improvements will include refurbishing of walls, ceilings and floors; installation of electrical wiring and duct work for zone HVAC; handicap accessible restrooms and an elevator. The facility will be ADA accessible. The renovations will complete the rehabilitation of the historic building and make the space fully functional.

The state’s CDBG program is administered by DLG and funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Kentucky’s Congressional leaders’ ongoing support of the CDBG program ensures the availability of continued funding in Kentucky and nationally.

“This project provides on so many levels for our community,” said Sen. Robin Webb of Grayson. “The public library and satellite campus for the Ashland Community and Technical College are tremendous assets to Carter County. I am pleased that I was able to help secure funding for the much needed renovations of the old Olive Hill High School and look forward to additional growth in the future.”

“Education is the key to opening doors to success, not only in Olive Hill but our region as a whole,” said Rep. Jill York of Grayson. “It is exciting to think about the increased opportunities for learning that will be available thanks to these funds, and also that we can utilize a longtime symbol of the community like Olive Hill High School into a new educational source. I look forward to the opening of the library and the new ACTC campus.”

The energy efficiency grant will fund the installation of a new, energy-efficient heating and cooling system for the center. It will also replace inefficient streetlights. 

First passed by Congress in 2007, the EECBG program was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), with funds coming from the U.S. Department of Energy through the Kentucky Department for Energy Development and Independence and administered by DLG.

The Kentucky EECBG program provides $6.25 million to assist local governments in implementing strategies to reduce fossil fuel emissions; reduce total energy use; and improve energy efficiency in the transportation, building and other appropriate sectors. Additional purposes of the EECBG program include spurring economic growth and the creation and/or retention of jobs under ARRA.

To read Governor Beshear’s Intelligent Energy Choices for Kentucky’s Future:  Kentucky’s 7-Point Energy Strategy, go to: