With two new elementary schools already set to open in 2016, Fayette County Schools officials are getting appraisals on land for a third elementary that would be along the Richmond Road corridor.
A redistricting plan is being drawn up now for 2016. The plan for a third new elementary raises the prospect that limited redistricting focused on the area around the school could have to be repeated in a couple years.
Mary Wright, senior director of operations and support, said Thursday that she hopes to have an appraisal by next week, "which will allow us to take that to the board and start negotiating. But we aren't there yet."
After the district gets appraisals, "we determine if we agree on a price" for the land, she said.
Wright said Friday that she could not say exactly where the site was, only that it was near "high growth areas."
"We really hope to have an announcement soon," she said.
Wright said that the elementary and a new middle school in the Richmond Road corridor could be open three years from now.
"It's all driven by when we would close on the property," she said.
Wright said that district officials had done some "preliminary work on the middle school... investigating certain sites."
In advance of a high school to be built by 2017 on Winchester Road, and two elementaries set to open in fall 2016, Fayette County is redrawing school attendance boundaries. The two elementaries will be on Georgetown Road and on Passage Mound Way, in a rapidly developing residential area east of Interstate 75 in Lexington.
The elementary school in the Richmond Road corridor is needed because of rapid growth, district attendance analyst Bob Joice said.
The desirable number of students for an elementary school is 650, Joice said.
The number of students living in the area who could be assigned to the planned school on Passage Mound Way is expected to be 903 by 2019-20, he said.
The number of students who could be assigned to Breckinridge Elementary, near Richmond Road, could increase from 666 currently to 828 in 2019-20, he said.
The attendance zone for Cassidy Elementary on Tates Creek Road, which extends to Wal-Mart on Richmond Road, is expected to grow from 759 now to 828 in 2019-20.
Students living in the Richmond Road corridor also attend Julius Marks Elementary on Pepperhill Road, which is expected to increase from 719 now to 765 in 2019-20.
"We are sending kids a long way to go to Julius Marks and Cassidy and Breckinridge, so it would be nice to have a new school out there to address the growth," Joice said.
Fayette Property Valuation Administrator David O'Neill, a member of the redistricting committee, suggested at a meeting this week that if the district gets a purchase agreement on the Richmond Road site, the current redistricting committee should include that planned school in its recommendations.
Given that the committee wants to recommend a plan by early April, redistricting committee chairman Alan Stein said it was unlikely that the purchase agreement would occur in time for that.
Joice said the redistricting effort for the new school could just focus on the area around the school and it would not have to involve a large committee such as the one currently convened. There likely would be a small committee or work group to make a recommendation to the school board, Wright said.
"The community can be confident that it isn't going to affect other parts of town far away," Joice said.
Past examples are the limited redistricting that occurred when Wellington and Athens-Chilesburg Elementary schools opened, he said.