The first steps are underway toward construction of a high school on the University of Kentucky campus to house Fayette County Public Schools' STEAM Academy.
On March 23, the school board will be asked to approve a $21,800 contract with Endris Engineering to conduct a survey of 12.2 acres on campus.
Mary Wright, senior director of operations and support for the school district, said Monday at a board planning meeting that the site was adjacent to the College of Education.
Officials haven't decided on the size of the building, but according to board documents, a survey of the location and its surroundings will gather information critical to the design.
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Endris Engineering also surveyed the site for the planned high school on Winchester Road.
STEAM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, is a partnership between UK and Fayette County Public Schools.
School board chairman John Price said during Monday's meeting that he wanted to ensure that students would be able to participate in the architectural and engineering processes as the building is constructed.
The program, which opened in fall 2013, is housed temporarily in the former Johnson Elementary School on East Sixth Street. The school district intended to buy a former grocery site in the shopping plaza at South Broadway and Virginia Avenue as the academy's permanent home, but that plan did not work out.
STEAM students take high school classes while also earning college credits in courses taught by UK faculty and undergraduate and graduate students.
The university will provide the school site. The school district will build the academy.
Wright said the district wanted to be in the new building by August 2017.
That building probably would serve 600 students in grades 9 to 12. The program now has about 300 students in grades 9 and 10; classes of 150 ninth-graders will be added in fall 2015 and 2016. The District Facilities Plan suggests that a 600-student high school could cost about $22 million, but that amount could change.
In other action, the board approved a $36,550 contract for a traffic impact study for the planned high school on Winchester Road.
The site will have an address and its formal entry on Winchester Road, directly across from a road yet to be built that will connect to a planned development to the north. District officials said the school site should have turn lanes and a traffic signal at this intersection.
The road falls under the authority of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The state requires that the school district commission a traffic study along Winchester Road between Patchen Wilkes Drive and Sir Barton Way to measure traffic and to support the need for turn lanes and a traffic signal. Stantec Consulting Services Inc. will conduct the study.
Both firms — Stantec and Endris — have Lexington offices.