About two years ago, the Board of Trustees for the Home (Kentucky United Methodist Homes for Children & Youth) began a conversation about our aging facilities in Versailles. The newest residential building on this campus was built in 1971. Our oldest residence hall was built in 1950. (This building is still being used.) While we have refurbished the buildings periodically, in truth they are old and tired. It is time to do a new thing for the benefit of the youth that we serve.
Add to this acknowledgement that through this same period of time, the nature of childcare in Kentucky has undergone major change. We’ve gone from an orphan’s home to a treatment facility. This means that most of our buildings are not only old, but their physical shape no longer meets the need for our current programming.
It didn’t take the board every long to decide that we needed new facilities. However, you can probably imagine that we were asking ourselves the question about how to build the best possible facility in order to meet the current and future need, but what other opportunities does this transition offer to us?
Education for instance, is a major component of what we do in the lives of youth. How can we make education an even stronger element in the treatment process? Is there a school system in our area that has been identified for its excellence in educating the youth in our care?
Another overarching question in this dialogue has been, how can we best utilize the financial resources at our disposal in a way that honors the faithfulness of our donors and continues to be a good steward of those resources?
The limits of this article will not afford me the space to tell you everything that has gone into the decision-making process. However, I can assure that we have walked around this decision as thoughtfully and as prayerfully as we can.
In July, on behalf of the Home, I signed the title to a 30-acre tract of land in Jessamine County on Ashgrove Pike. (The property is next door to the Lexington UMC – Serving All Nations.) It is our plan to build a new residential facility and to relocate our operational offices to that location. We are at the early stages of this process, and we expect that this project will take a few years to complete.
No decision has been made concerning the disposition of our current location in Versailles. Our Mary Kendall campus (Owensboro) is ideally located, and we envision updating the facility in the long-range plan; however, a relocation of that facility has not been in our thought process.
I realize that you has been hearing many rumors connected to the process. I just want to reassure you the Kentucky United Methodist Home for Children and Youth is alive and well. These are exciting times for us and we believe that best days are ahead thanks to your unwavering support.