Ballard donates time, services to construct Empowerment Academy; will be long-term housing facility for homeless teens

June 22, 2022 | 12:08 am

Updated June 23, 2022 | 1:39 pm

Mike Ballard | Photo by Bella Sailors

Ballard Construction has completed hundreds of projects over the past 40 years under the leadership of President Mike Ballard, including several homes for Habitat for Humanity. Ballard said his current project — building the Empowerment Academy for free with help from other companies and donors — is his biggest one yet, referring to it as “God’s calling for him to give back” after being blessed in his business.

Ballard has played a role in planning the construction of the Empowerment Academy home for about 7 years, and the dream will finally become a reality once it opens at 1606 Ohio St. 

Officials held a ceremony in March, unveiling plans for the Academy — a long-term housing facility for homeless teenagers who are focused on furthering their education. The Academy will be able to house 27 students, and officials said it could be full within two months of opening.

Ballard said the building is about 9,400 square feet.

“We’re in the process of building right now. Hopefully we’ll be wiring it pretty soon, then we’ll be ready to insulate and drywall, and hopefully we’ll have it done this year,” Ballard said. “Everybody has a job, and they’re doing their work. I do mine and together we make it happen.”

Since Ballard is completing this project at no cost to the Academy, he can’t complete it without assistance. The relationships he has built with people from many trades and businesses have proven to be helpful in moving construction along at minimal cost, for which Ballard said he is very thankful. 

“A company donated a scissor jack lift to us, which otherwise would have been about $900 a week,” Ballard said. “A different company put our roof on for free. I’m speculating that the cost of the building will be $800,000, so we can use all the help we can get.”

Ballard also plans to organize a few fundraisers to aid in funding the project, one of which will be a cookout on July 15 at English Park. They will be pre-selling boston butts and ribs, which can be ordered by contacting Ballard Construction at 270-231-5583 or any board member at the Empowerment Academy. Anyone who purchases an item will also be offered a tour of the building, and all the proceeds will go toward construction.

A portion of funding has also been coming from generous donors in the community, which Ballard said is not at all expected but appreciated. 

“We don’t know how many donations we will receive,” Ballard said. “But in the grand scheme of things, whether we get them or not, we’re not going to stop.”

June 22, 2022 | 12:08 am

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