GLASGOW — “This is a dream come true for many, many people, for many, many reasons,” Barren County Schools Superintendent Bo Matthews said as he was surrounded by students at the entrance of the school's new Career Technical Education facility.
Although the CTE building is still under construction, Barren County High School students were able to tour the facility on Friday.
“You might have heard that this is a football stadium,” Matthews continued. “That's not the whole story.
“It is so much more.”
Matthews told the students that the CTE building is a “state-of-the-art, 44,000 square-foot career and technical education facility.”
“The field house is in the basement,” he said. “And there's a brand new, top-of-the-line turf field that's coming to Barren County High School's football program.”
Matthews added that the field will also serve the school's band and track programs, with the capacity to host major events.
“This is a project that addresses many, many different things at one time,” he said.
After asking the students if they were interested in engineering, culinary arts, computers, biomed and health sciences, Matthews went on to describe the types of facilities that will be available in the new CTE building.
“We've got a state-of-the-art culinary kitchen that is going to be set up for you,” he said. “We're going to have a hospital room in this place. It's going to look like a hospital facility. It's going to have beds, and plumbing and curtains, all the different things that you're going to find in that particular field.
“You can practice. You can experience the real thing right here in this facility.”
Matthews said the engineering program will have areas for CAD design and robotics challenge competitions, and the computer science program will have “everything you can imagine” as the school district's Information Technology hub will be located in the CTE facility.
There will also be classrooms for subjects such as English and math “down here for students who are accessing this program,” Matthews said, adding that Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, Western Kentucky University and other community organizations will also use the facility.
“The community is going to come in,” he said. “We want the community to come and use this space.”
Elissa Tuck, a BCHS junior who is in the culinary arts program, got to tour the area of the CTE facility that will be used for culinary arts classes, which will include an industrial kitchen.
“I'm super excited because it opens up a lot of opportunities for different pathways,” she said. “There's multiple culinary pathways, so if they get a bigger industrial kitchen, then it'll be open for many more different pathways you can take.”
Tuck said while she doesn't exactly know what she wants to do within the culinary field, the new CTE facility will allow her to explore more options.
“Now, we just use conventional things like conventional ovens and microwaves and things,” she said. “This will show us how to use bigger technology and how to really bump up our career.
“So I'm super excited.”
BCHS junior Brandon Pemberton, who also participated in Friday's CTE tour, said this new facility provides major improvements to the classes he is currently taking. As part of the school's engineering program, he said this will open up many options for students.
“There's multiple jobs for engineering,” he said. “You can go into any of them. Just having the equipment here is enough to help.
“I'm going to be happy to get my hands on some new 3D technology that we're going to use. It's going to be fun. I'm excited.”
Pemberton said he is interested in becoming a flight engineer who would be part of an aircraft's flight crew.
“They'll have their systems set up and I'll be there to assist as they go,” he said.
Matthews said they currently plan to have a ribbon-cutting event for the new CTE facility on Aug. 8. He said this building will definitely benefit students and the community.
“It's phenomenal,” he said. “I don't think the public realizes what it's going to mean to the young people of this community.
“We've been very intentional about ways that we can make this a place where kids can learn no matter what they're interested in.
“They're going to have access to state-of-the-art CTE programming that will rival anybody in the nation.”