By Becky Killian
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Corbin Independent Schools is purchasing the site of the former St. Camillus Academy and will relocate its middle school there.
The Corbin Board of Education unanimously approved the purchase during a special board meeting Tuesday.
The district will acquire the property from the former Catholic school’s owners, the Sisters of Divine Providence, for $1 million. The Sisters of Divine Providence will finance the interest-free purchase, which will be paid in $200,000 annual payments over a five-year period.
The district will pay $5,000 to option the property for a period of 120 days, with that payment being refundable.
Board Chairwoman Kim Croley said the Sisters proposed the purchase to the school district in the hopes that the property would continue to be used for education and that the “tradition of excellence” would continue.
The property consists of about 26 acres and has three existing buildings consisting of about 30,000 square feet.
Superintendent Ed McNeel and Croley noted the property has sports fields — including a track and tennis courts — amenities the current middle school doesn’t have.
“It’s all there,” Croley said.
The board noted this purchase would restore a district school to the east end of Corbin. It also will locate the middle school closer to the district’s football stadium, where the middle school team plays its games.
It isn’t known at this time exactly when the middle school will relocate.
After hoping to open its doors to a new school year in August, St. Camillus closed its doors in July, with officials citing declining enrollment and low funding as factors behind the closure.
The academy would have celebrated its 100th anniversary this month.
What formerly began in 1908 as Sacred Heart School became St. Camillus on Sept. 8, 1913, when the school was established by the Sisters of Divine Providence, a community of sisters based at St. Anne Convent in the northern Kentucky city of Melbourne.
In February, a month after the Diocese of Lexington told school officials they would end their agreement, the Sisters told parents at a meeting they would be willing to lease the building for a dollar a year, if the parents can keep the school open this school year.
St. Camillus announced during an open house in April that the school was saved. A new board of directors was put in, and the Diocese continued to run the school until the end of May, with St. Camillus Academy of Corbin taking over the school’s operation afterward. The lease agreement between the board and the Sisters was signed the next month.
In July, parents were notified of the school’s closure in a letter from officials.