Georgetown College planning equine summer school as WEG legacy

Georgetown College wants $12 million from Kentucky's share of the federal economic stimulus funds to start an annual International Equine Summer School Program for 1,400 high school students from all over the world.

Georgetown President William Crouch says the college has about a "1 percent chance" of getting stimulus money for the project, but he told the World Games 2010 Foundation on Thursday that Georgetown will raise the money from other sources.

Crouch said the program would be a series of "summer camps" — a sort of "United Nations of the horse" — that would be a legacy event for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010, which the foundation is organizing.

The camps would last from two to five weeks each and would involve specialized training in many of the events that will be featured in the 2010 Games, including endurance riding, vaulting, dressage, eventing, jumping, reining, driving polo, Thoroughbred racing and harness racing.

Scholarships would be available, but some students would pay up to $10,000 for a five-week camp, Crouch said.

The program would generate about $1 million a year for the college and $1 million for the Kentucky Horse Park or other recipients.

Crouch said the college needs $10 million to build camp facilities, $1 million for general start-up costs and $1 million for scholarships.

"We are way down the road in getting this thing going," he told the foundation's board of directors.

Georgetown is a Christian liberal arts college with about 1,800 students, located off Interstate 75 north of the Horse Park. Its Equine Scholars Program trains students for careers in the horse industry.

The foundation's board also was briefed Thursday on transportation planning for the Games, which are expected to attract 30,000 to 65,000 people a day.

Tony Vitrano, president of the consulting firm Gameday Management Group of Orlando, Fla., said the first draft of the transportation plan for the Horse Park area would be ready by July 1.

It is expected to call for 200 to 400 buses to move spectators to the Horse Park from parking lots within a 10-mile radius, Vitrano said.

Buses will stop hotels in the Lexington area every 15 to 30 minutes, beginning 30 minutes before the Horse Park's gates open.

Some 200 volunteers will be at the hotels, parking lots and the Horse Park itself to direct spectators.

"Those people will be the face of the Games in many ways," Vitrano said.

Parking at the park will be "very limited" to special permit holders, he said. Even the media and others who must be at the park every day will be shuttled.

Inside the park, "internal trams" will haul horse grooms and other key personnel to their job sites.

Vitrano said his firm, which has managed parking for the Olympics, Super Bowls and other large sports events, will have 100 to 200 people working "behind the scenes" to prevent traffic problems before they actually develop.

The firm will analyze ticket sales data for each day's events to predict crowd size and the number of shuttle buses needed that day. They will also direct motorists to under-used parking areas where they can be picked up by buses.