Somerset Community College

Ken Shmidheiser

Construction of a new $70 million manufacturing plant in Somerset could begin in the next few months. A tentative deal is in place to lease 23 acres of land.

The preliminary agreement with a group of Houston investors is for land near the Somerset Rail Park.

Local rail transportation and the new state-of-the-art Somerset Energy Center have been major factors in attracting the project.

Martin Shearer is Executive Director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation. He says the energy center allows control of natural gas, a key part of the project.

Somerset Community College

A discovery during a sunrise service in the Somerset City Cemetery has led to the creation of a memorial for slaves buried in unmarked graves. 

Charles Leveridge is president of the Lake Cumberland Slaves Memorial Association. He said a section of the city cemetery that was thought to be unused is actually an unmarked burial site for area slaves. He said the original plan was to place a marker in that one cemetery, but the group is now focused on a bigger mission.

“The more we researched the issue, the more we found that there were numerous cemeteries throughout Pulaski County, and surrounding counties around Lake Cumberland, that have slaves interred that have no markers,” said Leveridge.

The group now has a design for a memorial sculpture designed by an Atlanta artist that will be located at Somerset Community College. The artist will be a guest at a unity breakfast at the college on Jan. 13, in advance of Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 16. 

Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College has received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to expand the reach of its 3-D printing program.

The main focus of the grant is to advance biomedical applications for 3-D printing in the region.

Eric Wooldridge is associate professor of 3-D printing at Somerset Community College.  He says the technique is already playing a big role in biomedical field.

“We actually can take full body MRIs and select sections that we want to print off. It can be the actual organs. It can be the bone structure. Whatever a surgeon or physician may need to better prepare for surgery or plan diagnostically what they’re going to do.” 

He says the process uses different types of materials to create physical forms.

Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College has opened a time capsule that was sealed into a wall when the school opened in 1965.  

The vault for the time capsule was in the blueprints for the building, but current school leaders only found out about it when they were interviewing alumni for a 50th anniversary story on the college.

SCC Director of Advancement Cindy Clouse said one thing that stood out about the 50-year-old items was the most common material of the day – paper.

"It kind of does kind of signify the times of 1965. You know, everything was probably a little bit simpler," said Clouse. "Technology wasn't around , so everything then was on paper. So most of the items we received were paper."

The time capsule included newspapers and brochures about the school, as well as the signatures of all the 16 members of the faculty and staff at the time. Those items from 1965 provide a clear comparison that shows the growth of the school. The faculty and staff now numbers more 300. The school opened with 275 students in 1965 and current enrollment is more than 7,000.

Clouse said the school is gathering items to re-load the  time capsule, which will be opened 50 years from now.

“We have a list of all the faculty and staff that we’re going to place inside. A lot of students put in pictures of their clubs. Our student government association wants to burn a CD of the music that people are listening to now,” said Clouse.

Students decided there’s one important item that has to go into the time capsule because it’s so symbolic of our time. That item is a cell phone.

Six Kentucky community colleges will share in $10 million in federal grant money to increase online learning programs for the computer and medical fields.  The grants are part of the TAACCCT (Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training) program, which is awarding more than $450 million in grants overall.  

Somerset Community College is among the schools receiving funds. Ivy Tech College in Indiana was also awarded $2.5 million dollars in grant money to pay for its new computing and informatics program.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says community colleges play an important role in the U.S. economy, calling them the “secret sauce”.

“What this really is, this is kind of like how Dwight Eisenhower built the highway infrastructure in the 50s.  We’re building the new infrastructure of adult training and education in the 21st century,” said Perez.

The next public forum over Kentucky's upcoming health insurance exchange is being held Wednesday in Somerset. The federal healthcare overhaul calls on each state to create its own marketplace in which residents can compare and purchase insurance plans, or sign up for Medicaid.