‘Football field’ of debris found under new school site. Price goes up $1.2 million.

Construction started in April on the 80,000 square foot school. It is the largest elementary ever built in Fayette County and will serve 750 students.
Construction started in April on the 80,000 square foot school. It is the largest elementary ever built in Fayette County and will serve 750 students. EOP Architects

The price tag has gone up $1.2 million on Lexington’s newest elementary school after debris was found underground on the construction site that covers an area about the size of a football field and is 10 feet deep.

At Monday’s Fayette County Public Schools’ planning meeting, district staff asked the school board to spend $24.9 million on the school and members will vote on that later in the month The estimated price for the school, set to open on Athens Boonesboro Road in 2019, has fluctuated since the project was announced. The new amount is less than the $25.4 million that the school board approved in October.

Construction started in April on the 80,000 square foot building that, as the largest elementary ever built in Fayette County, will serve 750 students. Two weeks into the work at the site, the contractor found construction debris buried over a large portion of what will be the main parking lot and front lawn of the school, according to the documents.

“The design team, the contractor, and the project geotechnical engineer (employed by FCPS) immediately went to work to determine the extent of the debris and the effect this undesirable material would have on preparing foundation and pavements,” the documents said. “The pre-purchase geotechnical and environmental surveys conducted on the district’s behalf detected only minor surface debris, visible in a couple of small piles.

“There was no indication that the area of debris was as large as a football field or that the depth of the buried material extended down as much as ten feet below the surface, “ the documents said

In order to keep the project on schedule, the contractor has been told that the debris should be removed as it is encountered throughout the construction process.

Bill Wallace, director of Facility Design and Construction, said at the meeting that the debris included construction materials and was nothing hazardous.

The district has another school grounds problem, across town at Jessie Clark Middle School, that the school board addressed Monday evening.

The lawn south of the Jessie Clark Middle School building is the site of one of several sinkholes in the neighborhood, board agenda documents said.

While the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government “considers this sinkhole an active component of the stormwater drainage system, the ground around it has continued to collapse in the last few years and a dangerous condition has developed,” the document said.

The city had a geotechnical engineer study the geologic features, and the problem will continue to grow unless it is mitigated, documents said. A design to stabilize the collapsing mouth of the sinkhole has been completed by the engineer and school board members voted Monday to spend $64,795 to fix it.

Closing the collapsing sinkhole will “eliminate a dangerous safety hazard for students and the general public,” the documents said.

Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk holds Lexington's second annual State of Schools Address to review over the past 2017-2018 Fayette County's school year and what to plan for going into 2018-2019.