Historical building renovations make room for art students

Work is almost complete to create more space for creativity. The Paducah School of Art and Design is in its final phases on a historical Paducah building in the Lowertown Art District. The project expands a school that was once in one building into three.

Charcoal and paper are tools art student Katia Godzicki uses to express herself.

"You look at the world differently when you’re in that creative mode all the time," Godzicki said.

In the current building, she says finding creativity can be hard.

"You get really irritable very easily, especially upstairs where it gets really hot," Godzicki said. 

She feels students interested the art program don’t have the room to learn. That will soon change, though.

Students will go from the first two floors of the current building downtown to a more than 30,000-square-foot building: the former Kitchen’s Inc. Building.

The art school’s dean, Paul Aho, says the new building opens up space for them to use their creativity.

"We outgrew our rental spaces almost immediately, and part of the mission for the school is to expand the art programs," Aho said.

He says students from Lowertown and the main campus at West Kentucky Community and Technical College will start working together in the larger building in the spring semester.

"It’s always a good for students to be exchanging ideas and initiatives with one another," Aho said.

Students like Godzicki couldn’t be more ready.

"I’m really excited for it," Godzicki said. 

It’s a better place to do what she loves. 

This project adds a third building to the Lowertown campus. The campus includes the former Madison Hall, which is right across the road. That two-story building right next to it was completed last fall for sculpture students.

The cost was $14 million for the entire project, with $10 million going toward the Kitchen’s Inc Building. That was paid for through a loan from the state and $2 million raised locally.

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