Education

This Lexington high school was built in 1965. It’s about to get a big renovation.

Tates Creek High School in Lexington.
Tates Creek High School in Lexington. File photo

A design consultant will be hired next month to launch an estimated $16 million renovation of Tates Creek High School, which was built in 1965 and last updated in 1993, according to Myron Thompson, chief operating officer for Fayette County Public Schools.

“This particular school has been (a top priority for the school board and the superintendent) in terms of ongoing challenges that we’ve had with indoor air quality, not to mention” the school’s new career academy, Thompson told school board members at Monday’s planning meeting.

The academic model at Tates Creek, along with Douglass and Bryan Station high schools, has been restructured and now features career academies. Douglass opened in 2017 and Bryan Station’s building was largely rebuilt in 2007 and can better accomodate the new academies. But the classroom space at Tates Creek High will likely have to be reimagined. Design would begin in December; construction is expected to begin in June 2020 and the renovation would be complete in August 2022, Thompson said.

In January, teachers and families complained that mold was creating a safety hazard at the school.

Thompson said a safety hazard no longer exists due to repairs, but the renovation would include a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The renovation would also cover mechanical systems, lighting, flooring, and the size of classrooms. Additional classroom space could be built to make the building functional for the career academy program.

If a tax increase to improve safety measures in the district is recalled and Tates Creek can’t quickly get a new, more secure vestible , the renovation would also have to address making the entrance to Tates Creek High safer, Thompson said.

Bryan Station, built in 1958, was renovated in 2007. That project was similar to new construction rather than a renovation in that much of the existing building was demolished. The Tates Creek High project won’t be that extensive, but a new section of the school could potentially be added, Thompson said.

Until the renovation is complete, Thompson said, district officials will work with Tates Creek High Principal Marty Mills “to make sure things are functional.”

The next high school building in the district scheduled to be renovated is Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, which opened in 1991, he said. District officials don’t have a date for that project, but it’s definitely in line for an update.

The Kentucky Department of Education requires that a building be 30 years old -- or that 30 years has passed since its last renovation -- before a significant new renovation can begin, Thompson said.

The Fayette school board and the Kentucky Board of Education will have to approve the Tates Creek High renovation.

A Tates Creek High School teacher and parent this week told Fayette County Board of Education members that mold and poor air quality in the school are affecting the health of students and staff, and making it harder for students to learn.

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