A new elementary school in the Hamburg area and a new middle school in the Masterson Station area off Leestown Road could be included in the four-year plan for Fayette County Public Schools as a result of Lexington’s growth.
Myron Thompson, the district’s senior director of operations and support, said the committee setting construction priorities could include those projects. That’s in addition to an imminent $2.7 million land purchase for an elementary school on Athens-Boonesboro Road and a middle school site that’s the subject of negotiations in the Richmond Road corridor.
That's not all.
More middle school space is needed in south Lexington, possibly necessitating either a new middle school or the expansion of Beaumont Middle School, Thompson said.
Brandi Peacher, a design specialist for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division and Planning, shared projections with the school district’s Local Planning Committee last week. Peacher is also a member of that Local Planning Committee, which is setting priorities for construction for the school district for the next four years as mandated by state law.
Peacher said by 2030, Fayette County’s population is projected to include 4,300 more infants and preschool children and 13,000 more children aged 5-19, according to a 2014 study from the Kentucky Data Center.
As of Monday, the school district had 41,694 students, preschool through 12th grade, according to district staff.
Peacher said in presenting information from the city’s planning division that she was not suggesting where new schools should go.
“All I can do is share with them the demographics, the projections and trends of development in Lexington and so then it’s up to the school system to utilize that data to see where they anticipate new facilities needing to go,” Peacher said Monday in an interview.
The Local Planning Committee is set to send its proposed plan to the Kentucky Board of Education for approval by February 2017.
In her presentation, Peacher told the committee that school districts and local governments depend on each other. A growing community places greater demands on the school district, creating a need for more or expanded schools. Likewise, a new school often stimulates traffic as well as residential development near the new school site.
Schools have significant impact on transportation patterns, road demands, home buying and rental choices, housing development prices, and water and utility demands, Peacher said.
She said the school district committee has also been discussing what schools need to be built within the next 20 years and noted that within that 20 years, a high school could be needed in the Masterson Station area off Leestown Road.
Henry Clay High School
The school district’s Local Planning Committee met at Henry Clay High School last week.
Among other issues, the committee must decide whether a renovation of Henry Clay should stay in the plan.
An expansion including eight new classrooms was in the 2013 plan at a cost of about $2 million.
Henry Clay had 2,395 students as of Monday, according to staff.
Associate Principal Chad Carpenter estimated that Henry Clay is projected to lose between 200 and 400 students next fall because of redistricting when the new high school opens on Winchester Road. But it is expected to reach its current level again by 2019-2020 because of Fayette County’s growth. Henry Clay’s building capacity is 2,133 said Steve Hill, the district’s pupil personnel director.
A $15.8 million renovation including parking, a secure entrance, electrical, technology, a gymnasium floor and more was also in the 2013 plan.
The school has an old heating and air-conditioning system, meaning that adjacent rooms can be too hot or too cold. It also needs mold cleanups, repair of leaking ceiling tiles and a solution for a sewer gas buildup in the pipes, Carpenter said.
“The electrical system is antiquated,” said Carpenter. “They don’t make those parts anymore.”
Beth Randolph, principal of the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, or SCAPA, has proposed a project to the committee that would expand SCAPA to include kindergarten through third grade, increase its student diversity, increase the number of students, and put all students K-12 under one roof.
The proposal suggests relocating the current programs on the Lafayette High School campus to a larger facility, preferably downtown. The entire facility for students K-12 would be housed under one roof, instead of in two buildings as is the current situation. SCAPA has one program for grades 4-8 and another for 9-12.
Under the proposal, the K-3 portion of the school would not require an audition as the other grades do and would target minority students. The expanded program would provide arts classes and opportunities for three and a half years before the fourth-grade audition.
The proposal also includes a state-of-the-art performance facility on what would be SCAPA’s new campus. Randolph said in an interview that SCAPA currently has a waiting list. There are 277 students in grades 4-8, she said, and about that many in the high school. Randolph said if the programs were expanded and placed under one roof, she would like to have a total student population of 1,200.
The next meeting of the local planning committee is at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lafayette High School, 401 Reed Lane.