PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The Scholar House of Central Appalachia is one step closer to being a reality following a ground breaking ceremony Monday in Pikeville.
According to a news release, the Scholar House of Central Appalachia will provide decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing through the construction of 48 multi-family housing units, an on-site child care center and a childhood early education center.
The Scholar House is being funded through the Kentucky Housing Corporation and will cost $11 million.
University of Pikeville President Paul Patton heard about the Scholar House from University of Louisville President James Ramsey.
Patton then urged community leaders to step up and get the planning for the project underway.
“Getting a young person off welfare and back to work, getting them a college education where they can work and pay taxes is a benefit to everyone,” Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “It is really a dream come true for many people. On a tour of the Scholar House, we saw hope in people’s eyes. Many of these people, before the Scholar House, may have had no hope. We all had tears in our eyes.”
“These are kids who aren’t looking for a handout, they are looking for a leg up,” Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn said. “This is the work of government.”
Scholar House Board Chair and University of Pikeville Vice President James Hurley said the goal of any Scholar House is to end the cycle of poverty.
“This may very well be the most important endeavor we embark on to end the grip poverty has on our young people,” he said. “Two schools in central Appalachia are among the top 10 percent in teenage pregnancy rates. This is an opportunity for those people.”
Currently there are Scholar House’s in Louisville, Lexington, Paducah, Bowling Green. The program has grown from 10 people in 2005, to more than 800 people in 2012.
There have been 81 degrees earned, many of them master’s degrees, in the six years since its inception. All 20 kids who have grown up in a Scholar House have received either full or partial college scholarships.
The Scholar House is being built on property located on the corner of Auxier and Saad Avenues.