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Bill Gatton makes generous gift for Academy’s expansion project

The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science has received a gift from its namesake to further educate Kentucky’s gifted students.

The Gatton Academy and WKU announced a gift from Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton to expand Florence Schneider Hall. The renovation will allow The Gatton Academy to grow from 120 students to 200 students. Each wing will take the name of one of Gatton’s parents, with the boys’ wing being named the Harry W. Gatton Sr. Wing and the girls’ wing being named the Edith Martin Gatton Wing.

The Gatton Academy and WKU announced a gift from Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton to expand Florence Schneider Hall. The renovation will allow The Gatton Academy to grow from 120 students to 200 students. Each wing will take the name of one of Gatton’s parents, with the boys’ wing being named the Harry W. Gatton Sr. Wing and the girls’ wing being named the Edith Martin Gatton Wing.

On Wednesday (May 6), The Gatton Academy and WKU announced a gift from Carol Martin “Bill” Gatton to expand Florence Schneider Hall.

“The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science is a great asset for the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Gatton said. “Its students have come from almost every county. It has brought honor to the Commonwealth by its recognition as the nation’s number 1 public high school three years in a row. That’s a remarkable achievement. It has great leadership, great faculty and great students. I am proud to have my name associated with it.”

The renovation will allow The Gatton Academy to grow from 120 students to 200 students. Each wing will take the name of one of Gatton’s parents, with the boys’ wing being named the Harry W. Gatton Sr. Wing and the girls’ wing being named the Edith Martin Gatton Wing.

“I am pleased and proud to share with others in this opportunity to expand Florence Schneider Hall in order that more students with special talents and interest in science, technology, engineering, and math careers will be able to take advantage of what The Gatton Academy has to offer,” Gatton said.

Gov. Steve Beshear also spoke during the ceremony on Wednesday. “The Gatton Academy is a shining example of how our educators are preparing the next generation of highly-trained graduates,” Beshear said. “I’m proud that my last budget included $2 million for the Academy, which will allow another 80 students the unparalleled opportunity to study in the nation’s best high school. Combined with the generous gift from the Gatton family, even more gifted young Kentuckians will have the chance to surge ahead in their education and enjoy the extraordinary experience of The Gatton Academy.”

In the building expansion, each wing of the second, third and fourth floors will have four bedrooms added, and the first floor will add a total of 10 new bedrooms.

In addition to Gatton’s lead gift, the more than $10 million Gatton Academy expansion project is being funded by other private donors including Sue and Brown Badgett, Ben and Janine Cundiff, the J. Rogers Badgett Sr. Foundation, Mike and Julie Muscarella, Daksha and Prabod Mehta, and Bill and Sue Hamilton.

“The Gatton Academy is a classic public/private partnership in support of high academic achievement and economic development for Kentucky,” said WKU President Gary A. Ransdell. “Private donors built and are expanding it and the state supports its operation. WKU provides the talent in the form of our faculty and the intellectual excitement in the form of our campus. The students bring the ability and the energy. It is great to know that 200 students will be coming in the future.”

With the increase in bedrooms on the first floor, the offices of The Gatton Academy and The Center for Gifted Studies will extend outward following the renovations.

“Today we are celebrating the opportunity to increase the capacity of The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky,” said Dr. Julia Roberts, Executive Director of The Gatton Academy and The Center for Gifted Studies. “We are grateful to Mr. Gatton and other donors as well as to the legislators who supported The Gatton Academy’s capacity to include more students than we previously have been able to accept.”

Another addition to the building will be a second-floor multipurpose room that will be able to seat all 200 students. This flexible space will provide a quiet room for students to study on their own and during study hours, as well as space for seminars and special events.

“There are so many highly capable students across Kentucky who are interested in a challenging learning environment where they can study science, technology, engineering and mathematics at a high level. Each year we have seen the competitiveness of our admissions increase. It will be wonderful to serve more students,” said Dr. Lynette Breedlove, Director of The Gatton Academy. “We are indeed thankful for the commitment Mr. Gatton, other generous donors, and the Kentucky legislature have made to the education of Kentucky’s bright, motivated high school students.”

Photos from The Gatton Academy expansion announcement

About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential high school for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Contact: Zack Ryle, (270) 745-2971

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