Unique new Innovation Hub for Paducah Ind. Schools has estimated $16 million price tag; target date for opening is fall 2019

Paducah Sun, Feb. 23, 2017

Innovation Hub at Tilghman will cost around $16 million

By Jason Morrow

Few people are more excited about the Innovation Hub and what it will bring to students and the community than Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively.

Following his presentation to the school board Monday about the hub, he provided more details Wednesday.

The facility will replace the Area Technology Center at Paducah Tilghman High School and come with a projected cost of $16 million.

"Our vision is to create something innovative that's not out there," Shively said.

Coming up with the $16 million was a long process that included visits to schools and facilities in several states. Shively said it was a time of drawing inspiration as well as seeing how much schools spent on similar structures.

"We took the square footage of the building that we have now and made an approximate construction cost per square foot," he said. They finally came up with the figure of $250 per square foot.

Most of the money needed for the building will come from 20-year bond sales totaling around $10 million, which Shively anticipates will be sold in early 2018.

Another $3.8 million will come from the grant awarded to Paducah Public Schools from Kentucky's Work Ready Skills Initiative. The school system also has money that can be used only toward facilities (also known as restricted cash), totaling $2.1 million. The project also will be funded with smaller amounts of money from regular yearly state appropriations.

Shively hopes to have students in the Innovation Hub by the fall semester of 2019.

He isn't sure where the building would be located on the high school's campus, but the current Area Technology Center building won't be destroyed to make way for it. Placing the Innovation Hub in the same spot as the technology center would disrupt educational processes for two years.

"From a logistics standpoint on how to deliver education, that wouldn't make sense," he said. "We can't teach kids to weld out of a trailer."

For ease of access to students at Tilghman, Shively said it was important for the Innovation Hub to be built on the campus.

"The architects will make sense of where the building should be," he said. He added that the architects' suggestion would be balanced with the logistics of students changing classes and on curb appeal.

The school board voted Monday to contract with JRA Architects, which has offices in Louisville and Lexington.

Shively said the hub will be a great creative learning space for students of all ages and for the community.

"We want to be on the cutting edge," he said. "Our students deserve it and our community expects it."

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