The City of Caneyville celebrated the grand opening of the restored Old Caneyville School Purple Flash Center during the first ever Caneyville Day on Saturday, June 25.
The day-long event’s feature attraction was the unveiling of the old school, which has undergone significant restoration work over the past couple of years to be converted into a community center.
Caneyville City Commissioner Mike Geary, who spear-headed the restoration of the school, addressed attendees of Caneyville Day about the project and the hope that the new Purple Flash community center may serve as a focal point for the Caneyville community.
“We’re going to make new memories here,” said Geary. “Living in Caneyville, I did not want this to become an eyesore.”
The restoration of the ground floor of the old Caneyville School is almost 90 percent completed, and the restoration of every room on the second floor has been sponsored by individuals or groups from the community, Geary said.
The restoration project truly became a community effort as Geary, the Grayson County Detention Center, the City of Caneyville, the Caneyville Beautification Committee, the Friends of Caneyville High School, the Caneyville Community Club, and others all played a role in bringing it to fruition.
Geary, in an emotional moment, expressed his gratitude to the City of Caneyville for helping to make the dream of reviving the old school a reality.
Following Geary’s address, officials cut the purple ribbon and opened the doors of the Purple Flash Center for members of the community to see the restoration work that has been done.
Caneyville Mayor James Embry said the ultimate goal of reviving and restoring the old school has been to preserve the legacy of what many consider to be the landmark centerpiece of Caneyville.
“Welcome to the new Caneyville renovated high school,” Embry said.
Inside the Purple Flash Center are a number of restored classrooms with memorabilia from the old Caneyville School on display.
Tommy Brown, a member of the 1968 Caneyville basketball team that went to state, said being inside the school brought back a lot of memories, especially the many hours he spent in the gym.
“It’s really neat that they saved it,” Brown said of the school.
One of the old Caneyville School’s most well-known teachers, E.E. McGhee, was given the surprise of his life on Saturday when he learned that school’s restored science lab had been named in his honor.
McGhee said he was not told beforehand that the room had been renamed for him, and he choked back tears as he stood behind the front desk discussing his time teaching at the school.
“It’s really an honor,” McGhee said. “The students probably helped me more than I helped them…They couldn’t have done anything nicer.”
The restoration of the Old Caneyville School Purple Flash Center has been funded primarily through donations.
In addition to the unveiling of the Purple Flash Center, Caneyville Day also featured musical performances throughout the day, a car show, vendors, bouncy houses, and a softball tournament, among other attractions.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.