Olive Hill High School is located on a bluff in downtown Olive Hill, Kentucky. Briefly abandoned, the buildings are being renovated to house storefronts and community space.
Constructed in 1929,1 the school is accessible from 103 stone steps that were constructed by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930’s.1 The high school relocated in 1971 3 when a new facility was constructed on the outskirts of town. The buildings were reused for an elementary school.
In 1990, the Kentucky Education Reform Act was passed that provided school districts with increased funding.2 Many districts, full from an influx of cash, opted to abandon their old facilities in favor of newer, bigger buildings on larger pieces of land. As a result, Olive Hill opted to construct a new elementary school in 1994.2 Afterward, much of the school was stripped of its interior finish, light fixtures, fuse boxes, and toilets in order to save money on the construction of the new facility.1 In December 1998,1 the former high school was purchased by Jim Short, the mayor of Olive Hill, for $10,000 on his personal Visa Gold credit card.2 The mayor, in turn, sold the building to the Olive Hill Historical Society for $11,000,2 which covered his personal expenses and interest payments.
The current plan is to reuse the former school for a community center, museum, senior citizen wellness center, and community theater.1 Repairs to the building have included window repair or replacement, electrical work, HVAC installation, refurbished plumbing, and interior repairs. The cost of the project, estimated to be $1.4 million, was stimulated with $400,000 via fund-raisers and federal funding.2