This story originally appeared in the July 28 issue of the Community Voice. For your own subscription, call270-384-9454
Columbian Theater owner Dr. Ben Arnold, who has been in a lease agreement for the facility with the school board for almost a year, signed the deed over to the board Thursday night during its July meeting.
“I am excited to death. This is a huge step for us,” said board superintendent Dr. Pam Stephens. “We ran into a couple of roadblocks in getting things rolling with the KDE (Kentucky Department of Education). They had the agreement, and they knew Dr. Arnold’s intent.
“We had that conversation with him, and he said, ‘With what you all have done, I know you’re going to do it well. I will gift it and that will stop all the roadblocks.’ We’re very blessed.”
The Columbian Theater opened in 1947 and was thought to have one of the largest screens in the South. In this proposal, Stephens sees the theater’s lights being turned on again for multiple uses, including drama events, choral performances, art displays, and special community occasions.
“Our goal is still to have our Christmas performances in the theatre,” Stephens said. “We are moving forward on that. We have a lot of equipment that will be going into the theater ordered earlier today.”
The board also voted unanimously to continue its agreement with the city of Columbia and the county of Adair concerning payment for School Resource Officers in the four local facilities. Currently, three officers are paid through the city budget while one officer is paid through the coun- ty sheriff ’s budget.
The agreement has the board paying $48,690 a year for one officer, with almost $38,000 going to the city, up from $24,000 last year.
“Safety is key for us,” Stephens said. “We had one SRO when I came in as superintendent. This board has been very committed to the safety of not only our students but also our staff. This agreement doesn’t cover just the days kids are here in school, it covers the days teachers are here.”
In other action Thurs- day night, the board:
– approved a request for out of state travel for the Adair County High School academic team to compete in a quiz bowl in Cookeville, Tenn. on Nov. 12;
– approved the school therapy agreement between the board of education and the Adanta Group;
– approved a pre- school partnership grant agreement between the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department of Community Based Services, Division of Child Care, and the Adair County Board of Education.
By Scott Wilson