Of 40-plus projects approved for Fayette schools, which will come first?

Plans for an elementary school on Athens-Boonesboro Road are moving ahead after the Fayette County Public Schools board’s approval of documents showing a schematic design.

The new school in southeast Lexington, which could open in fall 2019 at an estimated cost of $21.7 million, is one of dozens of projects on a four-year district facilities plan that the state board of education approved April 12.

District spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall described the plan as a list of construction projects that prioritizes the district’s facility needs. Projects move forward as construction funding and land become available. Only a handful of the projects are moving forward at this point.

Michael Dailey, district associate director of federal, state, and magnet programs, said two projects that have entered a second development phase are an $8.4 million newcomers program for 250 English as a Second Language students, which could be placed in the old Linlee Elementary building, and an $8.4 million dropout prevention program for 250 students. There is no firm location for the dropout prevention program, officials said. All cost estimates are tentative.

High on the list of priorities is a $25.8 million middle school in the Richmond Road corridor.

Ball Homes has included a middle school in a proposal for a development on land owned by Kentucky American Water Co. off Squires Road, but the district’s senior director of operations, Myron Thompson, and Deffendall said that the school district and Kentucky American Water Co. don’t yet have a deal.

The Urban County Council approved a zone change for the property but for fewer homes than the developer wanted.

Thompson said that district officials need 20 acres for the middle school, but a specific 20-acre site on the Kentucky American land has not been identified.

District officials have spoken to several landowners in the Richmond Road area, Deffendall said, and “Kentucky American is one of those landowners that we’ve spoken to. We don’t have a contract on that land.”

Thompson said district officials have told state Department of Education officials that they are interested in the Kentucky American land, and state officials have told them they can pursue buying it, but nothing more concrete has occurred.

The facilities plan indicates that Fayette district officials want to schedule several projects by 2018, among them a $17.3 million renovation of Henry Clay High School, adding eight classrooms, and a $19.4 million renovation of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, adding 12 classrooms.

A Kentucky Department of Education staffer told the state board of education that the renovations should help ease overcrowding at those high schools.

The top project on the plan that district officials want to schedule by 2018 is a $24.1 million building for the district’s STEAM Academy, which is housed in the old Johnson Elementary building. Deffendall said Monday that the district doesn’t yet have land or a site for that project. District officials have pursued a new home for STEAM for years.

Other projects on the plan that district officials want to schedule in the next four years include:

▪  New elementary schools in the Hamburg and Masterson Station areas.

▪  More secure main entrances at 24 schools.

▪  A building addition and a new theater at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

▪  A $500,000 renovation of an undetermined existing building for a program for students with moderate and severe disabilities.

▪  Renovations at Lafayette, Tates Creek and Locust Trace high schools; Beaumont, Southern and Winburn middle schools; Booker T. Washington, Northern, and Harrison elementary schools, Eastside and Southside technical centers; the Child Development of the Bluegrass building; and the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy.

▪  Renovations at Central Office, the Liberty Road bus garage, and maintenance buildings.

▪  Auxiliary gymnasiums with lockers and bathrooms at Henry Clay, Dunbar, Tates Creek, Lafayette, and Bryan Station high schools to provide equal facilities for female students, as required by federal law.

▪  Eight new classrooms at Locust Trace AgriScience Center.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears