PAINTSVILLE – Big Sandy Community and Technical College officially opened its new park on its Mayo campus Tuesday afternoon.
The park, constructed on a half-acre plot where the former Building B once stood, is one of the first sustainable parks of its kind in eastern Kentucky. Even before the park was constructed, the college’s efforts in conserving energy led to raising most of the funds used to tear down Building B and begin the project.
“We were able to essentially save around $80,000 in our efforts to become more energy efficient,” said John Herald, director of facilities at BSCTC. The money came in the form of a rebate from Kentucky Power through the help of the Kentucky Community and Technical College’s (KCTCS) Green Plus Initiative.
Dr. Michael B. McCall, president of KCTCS, said the BSCTC’s commitment to students and the environment is to be commended.
“You are here to serve students, and, in this case, the students gave back,” said Dr. McCall. Students from the masonry and carpentry programs on the Mayo campus constructed many of the amenities at the park, including a 24-foot gazebo, beautifully manicured gardens, walkways, swings and a pergola. “What you are going to do by 2020 – you’re going to save more energy because it’s a fact of life that we must conserve.”
The park features many environmentally friendly features, including benches made of recycled plastic, recycled mulch and solar-powers pathway lighting. Additionally, solar power will be used for part of the electricity used in the gazebo. There will also be recycling bins at the park for the school and the community to use.
“This is a major step in the right direction,” said Dr. McCall.
Dr. George D. Edwards, president and CEO of BSCTC, said the park exemplifies the college’s commitment to its students and community.
“This will be a gathering place for students on this campus and also those who live in and around Paintsville,” he said. “I’m just extremely proud of our school, proud of our community and very proud of our students.”
Johnson County Judge-Executive Tucker Daniel said the opening of the new park adds to the significance of the Mayo campus to not just higher education but also its role as a community leader.
“For years, students have learned life skills to prepare them for jobs in the workplace here,” said Daniel. This year, the Mayo campus is celebrating 75 years as BSCTC marks three milestone anniversaries. Prestonsburg Community College is marking 50 years and 10 years ago, the Mayo and Prestonsburg campuses merged to form BSCTC.
Paintsville City Councilman Bill Mike Runyon told those in attendance that BSCTC “added a beautiful park to the landscape of the city.”
Angela Burton, who retired from Mayo in 1999 and currently works for BSCTC, gave a detailed history of the building, including a visit to the campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
She even met her husband, Harold Burton, the director of the Kentucky Coal Academy and interim director of Workforce Solutions at BSCTC, while they were students on campus.
“I was in Building B and [Harold] was in Building C,” she said, laughing.
Built in 1957 at a cost of $200,000, Building B housed the auto mechanics program on the first floor and business and cosmetology on the second floor.
Angie Burton went on to add that President Johnson’s visit in 1964 demonstrated Mayo’s cutting-edge approach to workforce development, much as it does today.
“The Mayo campus was and remains a leader in training our workforce and helping people attain productive employment,” she said. “We have witnessed a huge change here on campus without Building B, but we hope with the construction of Mayo’s new park, our employees, students, children, and community members will have a place where they can relax, reminisce and enjoy the outside beauty of nature.”
Her remarks ended with a quote from Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Burton continued, “Mayo, Prestonsburg Community College and Big Sandy Community and Technical College has changed the world for many families in eastern Kentucky and continues to work toward that goal.”
There are still many naming opportunities at the park, including the gazebo, trees, benches and swings. In the near future, there will be memorial and commemorative bricks as well. For more information on sponsorships and naming rights, please contact Kelli Hall, director of advancement, at (606) 886-7382 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.