Johnson House

The Johnson House before and after the school district cleaned up the structure.

The white house on the Great Crossing High School property commonly referred to as the Johnson House is getting new occupants.

Scott County Schools’ Department of Nutrition will be relocating into the structure around fall break, district officials said at Thursday’s school board work session.

The district has been working on the property while looking for a new use for it.

The structure has been painted and the landscaping has been cleaned up, improving its appearance, Director of Maintenance Dwayne Ellison said.

“It’s nothing amazing, but we have cleaned it up a lot and put a fresh coat of paint on it,” Ellison said. “We’ve cleaned up the inside quite a bit and getting it back to being usable.”

The house, sometimes referred to as the Taylor House, sits on farmland once worked by Robert and Jemima Suggett Johnson. Known as Johnson Station, the Johnsons and other prominent families from Bryan Station settled there before Christmas in 1783, according to local historian Ann Bevins. She stated the settlement is the first European-African settlement in present Scott County. Before 1800, the Johnsons replaced the log dwelling with a timber frame house featuring beaded weatherboarding, an enclosed staircase, hardwood ash flooring and pegs joining wooden members. Shortly after 1915, G.M. Taylor purchased the farm and the Taylor family owned it until it was sold in 2005 to the Board of Education, Scott County Fiscal Court and Great Crossings Baptist Church.

Officials said the Department of Nutrition seemed to be a natural fit to move there because vendors come in and cook samples of new products, among other things the staff provides to families.

“I was amazed at what Dwayne and his team did. When they mowed the yard and cut back the bushes, you can tell that it is a house,” he said. “And Mitzi (Marshall) and her Nutrition Services team has offered to locate there. I imagine that there are some things that need to be done like new appliances, some carpeting and utility work, but we can shoot for a fall break move for them. Then we can move the ESL and migrant team into where the nutrition services folks are now.”

Boardmember Stephanie Powers said Marshall had shared a great idea that the house would be ideal for parents applying for free and reduced or needing other assistance, that there would be more privacy for the families needing that assistance.

Boardmember Diana Brooker also suggested putting some kind of  plaque in the building so people will know why the building was preserved.

Bevins  was thrilled to see the school district taking an interest in preserving the building, she said.

“The district believed it was worth preserving and has taken a lot of pride in saving it,” she said. “It’s probably the most historic house in Scott County and I think it is exciting that the school board is taking an interest in preserving the property.”

Now that the two latest projects in the Scott County Schools District are open, the board made plans for ribbon cuttings for Great Crossing High and Creekside Elementary schools at Thursday night’s work session.

There will be a ribbon cutting at the Great Crossing High School Open House on Sept. 19, at 5 p.m., and then the board will cut the ribbon at Creekside on Sept. 26, at 5:30 p.m. when it will now hold its regular meeting.

“I want to be at the open house,” said Brooker. “We’ve spent a couple of years and a lot of decision making and money on it, and I want to be there and we should have a ribbon cutting. We’ve done a ground breaking a long time ago, and should have a ribbon cutting.”

Boardmember Susan Duncan said she would be at a ribbon cutting, but that she wasn’t sure it was necessary.

“We did a ground breaking to show we are building the school and this is how we are spending your tax dollars. We’ve built it now, and it belongs to the students and the community and I think a dedication is self-serving,” she said. “I understand the open house because there are people that don’t have students there and are curious to see what it looks like.”

Boardmember Jo Anna Fryman said she thought the ribbon cutting should be the same night as the open house, which is what the board agreed on by consensus.

The GCHS open house will be from 5-7 p.m., and the board wanted to let the Great Crossing students be in charge of the program.

In other work session business, the board granted Hub the ability to request a variance for a temporary certificate of occupancy for the Great Crossing High School Athletic Complex grandstands and concession/restroom areas.

A ruling by the Kentucky Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction that the grandstand and concession area needed a fire sprinkler system forced the district to come up with alternative seating and concession plans for football and soccer games.

Hub is confident the area will be ready for use early in September.

“I’m very optimistic that we can be ready around Labor Day. We have the variance through the end of October, but if we can meet the September date, that’s two-thirds of the soccer season it will be available,” he said.

Steve McClain can be reached at smcclain@news-graphic.com.

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