KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. — Knott County Schools is one district that pushed back the start of school following the floods in eastern Kentucky. 

What You Need To Know

  • 3 of seven Knott County Schools were affected by flooding

  • Knott County Area Technology School was washed out

  • The school offered trade training and certification to high school students

  • Knott County Schools plan to start school on Sept. 19

The Knott County Area Technology Center is one of its seven schools that was impacted by flooding. Flood waters left the school with muddy hallways, empty classrooms, and broken hearts.  “It’s depressing in a way because you spent so many hours and take so much pride in your work and to lose it in a night,” said the school’s lead custodian Riley McKinney. “What you built up in years’ worth of labor is gone.”

For four years, McKinney has been in charge of the upkeep and sanitation of the Knott County Area Technology Center. Every room where students were trained in trades like nursing, electricity, and plumbing is now completely gutted. 

“My beautiful hallways are gone, all of this equipment for our teaching aids. We’ve lost everything,” says McKinney. 

McKinney estimates that millions of dollars’ worth of equipment was destroyed by the flood water that stood seven feet tall in some parts of the center. “I’m pitching in extra time to work here and try to help them,” says McKinney. 

Surrounded by empty classrooms and piles of damaged equipment, the custodian is still able to find the beauty after the storm. “I almost lost my faith in humanity as a whole til this disaster struck here and just seeing the outpouring of love and compassion and help coming,” says McKinney.  

He has a message to the students who would have been filling the hallways with chatter and laughs if it were not for the flood. “Keep pushing. Don’t give up, just keep your head up and be optimistic because we’ll be back.” says McKinney. “We’ll be back in full swing.” 

Until then, he challenges them to help where they can to rebuild their community. 

The district says it is coordinating efforts with the state department and FEMA to recover losses and expedite the repair process.