Education

Lexington’s new elementary won’t be completed by first day of school, but it will still open.

Parents raise concerns about school redistricting proposals

Parents raised concerns at a school redistricting session about some children potentially being moved from overcrowded schools like Veterans Park Elementary.
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Parents raised concerns at a school redistricting session about some children potentially being moved from overcrowded schools like Veterans Park Elementary.

Because of excessive rain, when Lexington’s newest elementary school opens Aug. 14, only 80 percent of the building will be complete, Fayette school officials said in a statement on the district’s website.

Brenda Cowan Elementary on Athens Boonesboro Road will be ready to welcome students, families, and staff on the first day of school Aug. 14, the statement said. “But since 2018 was Lexington’s all-time wettest year since 1870, some construction might still be happening on campus.”

Contractors have been working hard, but it rained roughly six out of every 10 days last year, which impacted their progress, according to the statement.

By the end of 2018, Fayette County received at least 26 inches of rain more than usual over the course of the year, the statement said.

Lexington finished 2018 with over 70 inches of rainfall, smashing 2011's record of 66.35 inches of rain.

At the Fayette County Board of Education’s regular monthly meeting on April 22, school board members will be asked to extend the deadline for the project’s completion because of the “extreme amount of rain days.”

The extra time won’t result in extra money being spent, according to school board documents. The latest total cost for the building that the school board has been asked to approve is $24.9 million.

To serve the number of students expected in its first year of operation, Cowan doesn’t need the rooms that won’t be ready.

The school is being built for 750 to accommodate future growth, but the district anticipates having only 500 students there in 2019-20.

Construction started in April 2018 on the 80,000-square-foot building that will be the largest elementary ever built in Fayette County.

Americans have been twice as likely to experience record-breaking heat than record-setting cold, Associated Press data analysis shows. It counted the times daily hot temperature records were tied or broken compared to daily cold records.

Certain classrooms, resource rooms, the kitchen, cafeteria, gymnasium, media center, support spaces, and administration areas will be complete on the first day of school, the district’s statement said.

The parking lot will be ready, as will the bus and car drop-off and pick-up areas.

The remaining classroom wing will be finished in September. Doors will separate construction areas from students and staff. The work will not be noisy or affect instruction, the statement said.

“The changes will not impact the school’s commitment to high-quality education,” district officials said.

“Brenda Cowan Elementary will be a safe, welcoming, and positive learning environment beginning on day 1 and continuing throughout the upcoming school year,” the statement said.

The school district will update the building’s progress, and Cowan Elementary will host open houses this summer. People can ask questions at a community forum from 5 to 8 p.m. April 23 at Crossroads Church in Andover, 4128 Todds Road.

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