HOPKINSVILLE, Ky., – By Jennifer P. Brown, New Era Editor – The 1835 Green River Academy building in Elkton could owe its resurrection to the $1.2 billion Hemlock Semiconductor plant under construction in Clarksville, Tenn. A preservation group that is trying to save the aging school building has been approved for a $500,000 federal grant after creating plans for a modern education initiative tied to Hemlock.“I think everyone feels great about it,” said Matthew Bailey, president of the Green River AcademyPreservation Society. The group learned this week it will receive a Community Development Block Grant that was awarded through the Kentucky Department of Local Government.
The grant application includes plans for a training program that could help Todd countians secure jobs at the new industries constructing in the area, said Bailey. Restoration of the academy building will allow the preservation group to set up space for a job training, literacy and computer skills program at the old school building. The public library in Elkton has only two public access computers and time on those is limited to 15 minutes, he noted.
Bailey said the preservation group will use all of the $500,000 grant for renovation work that will save the building from crumbling. The training program adds value to the grant because it ensures a use for the building, said Bailey. Green River Academy will become more than a museum.
Bailey, who has a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s in historic preservation, both from the University of Kentucky, works in the Kentucky Division of Historic Properties. Elkton is his hometown.He said he hopes restoration work will begin in six months to a year. It will take about a year to complete, he estimated.
Green River Academy was constructed as a boarding school. Wealthy Southern families bought stock in the school and sent their daughters to the school. The academy closed after the Civil War and then became a public school. In 1890, it closed again as a school and became a private residence. Around the middle of the 20th century, it was being used as storage and then became vacant.
Reach Jennifer P. Brown at 270-887-3236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.