By Jessica Spencer

“This is home. This is good,” Aaron Thompson said as he opened the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for Eastern’s new extended campus in Manchester. Moving from the Manchester Square Shopping Center, the $12.5 million, 48,636-square-feet addition to the Manchester campus is projected to be open in early spring 2009.

Interim President Doug Whitlock addressed the audience about the future of Eastern’s Manchester campus.

“The Commonwealth of Kentucky has embarked on a great journey,” Whitlock said. “And it is going to go a long way in helping the community reach its goals.”

Rep. Tim Couch spoke on the many visions that made the new facility possible.

“Without vision, we would have no hope,” Couch said. “You have to have a vision before you can see a project such as this evolved.”

State Sen. Robert Stivers continued Couch’s theme. He said without the “torches” or visions of many in Clay County, the addition would not have been a reality.

“When you bring all of these torches together, it is not just creating a building, but it has created a light of hope that we can do better and have more to offer,” Stivers said.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher spoke last and was welcomed with a standing ovation.

“When the economy is down, that does not mean we can not continue to build toward the future,” Fletcher said.

“The horizon we are looking at today is not a horizon for tomorrow or the next day, but a horizon that will provide a bright future for generations to come.