School board asked to consider renaming LCHS gym

Published 2:52 pm Thursday, December 20, 2018

STANFORD — For the first two years of Lincoln County High School’s existence, the Patriot and Lady Patriot basketball teams played their home games in the old Memorial High School gymnasium. When the gym was completed at the new consolidated high school, the 1976-77 Lincoln teams took to the hardwood in the J.C. Eddleman Gymnasium and they’ve played there for the past 42 years.

If former Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Jack Denny Johnson has his way though, the LCHS sports teams will soon be playing in a new facility. Well, not a new facility per se, but rather a newly-named gymnasium.

“I’ve gotten to know the superintendent (Michael Rowe) quite well since he’s been here and have great respect for him and I know all of the board members, some of you more than others and I appreciate you allowing me to say a few words tonight,” Johnson said as he addressed the school board Thursday night. “My two daughters went through Lincoln County High School. You’ve got a great school and don’t let anybody knock it down and tell you you don’t have, but there’s something that’s been bothering me about our school system for 40-some years.”

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“Now, I’m not here to beg money. I’m not here to cause a disturbance. This will be pleasant but this has been bothering me,” he continued. “What I want to talk to you about is the name that is on the Lincoln County High School Gymnasium. I don’t guess there’s more than two people in this room who remember who that was named after.”

Before voicing his concern, Johnson recounted a story from the early 1970’s when there were five high schools in Lincoln County and of a district tournament being played at the old Stanford High School that included Russell County, Casey County, Lincoln County and Rockcastle County. He spoke specifically of a game between Stanford and Moreland that lasted three days, with the lights going out the first night and a fight breaking out the second night which forced a third attempt to finish the game. He did not provide the results.

Johnson’s story was a lead in to how Lincoln County High School came into existence.

“Early in the ’70’s the idea (consolidation) came up and it took a good while to get it done but they voted to consolidate the high schools and bring them all together,” he said. “They had several votes on that and the little district of McKinney was the only one that voted for consolidation every time that it came up for election.”

“Mr. Willard Cooper was superintendent at the time when they began the thing of bringing all the schools in. Mr. Joda Milburn was prior to that and was the one that first came up with the idea,” added Johnson. “They started the high school while he (Cooper) was superintendent, then J.C. Eddleman (for whom the gym is named) took his place for one year and built a lot of the high school while he was there. Then I was elected superintendent during that time and we finished the high school up and did all the outside part, the football field, baseball field and later on the gymnasium.”

Johnson said when they voted to build the high school that they only had enough bonds to build the high school. He said, “Listen to this – it was $3-million. Today it would probably be $50-million.”

With no gym at the new high school, the Patriots and Lady Patriots played basketball for two years at the Old Memorial High School, which is now the Lincoln County Community Center. The boys had to go down there to practice and the girls practiced at Waynesburg.

However, while there was no gymnasium being built at the time of the construction of the high school, it didn’t mean that the gym wasn’t on the agenda.

“The high school was being built and one night at a board meeting Lloyd McGuffey, who was chairman of the board at that time and he had been a board member for about 30 years, and we didn’t have a gym and we’d been there for a while, and he upped and said at the board meeting that, ‘I think we ought to try to pass a special tax to build a gymnasium,’” Johnson said. “Well, there was three board members in favor, two against and the guy who was superintendent then was against because he said it wouldn’t pass.”

“They got it put on the ballot by a 3-2 vote and it did pass, with a pretty good majority. And today all of you know what a beautiful gymnasium we have,” he said. “It was paid off in 20 years.”

Johnson said that when the tax passed it took approximately two years to get the paperwork done and get the gym built – at a cost of $1-million.

“Mr. Eddleman had been gone. He had nothing to do with the gymnasium, getting it passed or during the construction or anything like that,” Johnson said.

Johnson then turned to Rowe and said “Give me a little more time and I’ll tell you how the gym got its name,” to which Rowe responded jokingly, “You’ve already run over your two minutes (limit).” And Johnson answered, “Hush!” which drew a collective laugh from those in attendance.

Johnson said that some townspeople came to the board meeting and got a board member to make a motion to name the gym after Eddleman. “The motion was made to name the gym after him and it was approved.”

“What I would like to ask the board to do, is I’d like to ask the board if they would change that name to Lloyd B. McGuffey Gymnasium,” said Johnson. “It’s been named after the other fellow that had nothing to do with the gym being built for 40-42 years. They almost did that with the football field one time. An outsider made a motion to name the football field after somebody that had nothing to do with the schools and we got that killed that night. Now, it’s named an excellent name, the Bill Ed Leedy Field. He’d done a lot for the county and schools, and still does.”

“Lloyd McGuffey was on the board for 30 years and would take a tough stand. Mr. (Tom) Blankenship can tell you this, if Crab Orchard needed something worse than Highland did, he would vote for it. Really a good, down-to-earth solid board member. I would like to see you change the name to the Lloyd B. McGuffey Gymnasium.”

During Thursday’s school board meeting, which was the final meeting for board members Yolanda Smith and Marvin Wilson, several action items were approved by the board.
Those actions were:

• Approved first reading of Board Policy 8.1 Curriculum

“Basically, we have a policy that talks about the dual credit classes we offer for the high school,” said Superintendent Rowe. “When the policy was written, it said specifically, it named two universities to do that, and we’ve expanded beyond those two universities. So basically, it’s taking the wording out and saying we use a college or university without naming a specific one.”

• Approved shortened school day for student at Highland Elementary.

• Approved creation of an instructional assistant position to assist in Behavioral Unit at Stanford Elementary.

“The Behavioral Unit we have for elementary schools is housed at Stanford so it serves the entire district,” Rowe said. “We’ve had a difficult time there with some of the students there and we need additional hands to assist. I took an evening to meet with the faculty of Stanford Elementary who shared their concerns with things that have happened there.”

“We know that in order for it to be successful, we need an additional assistant there. It would be half paid out of special education funds and half out of general education funds. My recommendation is to approve this for the safety of our kids.”

• Approve replacing Highland’s full-time Classified Student Technology Coordinator position with a part-time certified STC position.

“What she (Principal Suzanne Montgomery) is asking in the broad picture is the shifting of monies to spending a different way,” Rowe said. “We started the school year off with a full-time classified employee doing the Student Technology Coordinator position. That has changed and she wants to change that to a certified position but we’re using monies from ESS and the money we would have used for Student Technology Coordinator to do a certified position. The certified position allows a couple more options versus what the classified would do. No additional money, just shifting money around.”

“Our site-based council wanted me to ask for your blessing to use our ESS money to make up the difference,” said Montgomery.

• Approved the creation of a part-time Dual Credit math teacher position at LCHS.

“In order to teach dual credit you have to have 18 hours at the graduate level and, in our math department, we currently don’t have that ,” said Rowe. “That means we can no longer offer dual credit to our kids which is something we know that they need and saves parents money. We’d like to bring one person in to teach one class a day of a dual credit for kids who’d like to sign up for that. We’ll not be spending money on having a full-time position, paying someone roughly around $50 an hour to teach this one class, and allow our kids to get college credit for it.”

• Approved the Lincoln County Early Head Start Self-Assessment Process.

• Approved the use of Berea College’s Travel reimbursement rates for Gear Up personnel travel

• Approved the Calendar Committee Members.