Success Academy gives high schoolers a second chance in education
Construction is set to begin next week at the former Imani church Building at 1555 Georgetown Road for a new home for Lexington’s STEAM Academy.
The Success Academy for students who are behind in high school credits is operating in part of the building now. After a more than $26 million renovation is completed, both programs will be in new spaces in the Georgetown Road facility.
The renovation is expected to be finished in October 2020, Fayette County Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Myron Thompson said.
About 80 Success Academy students and 600 STEAM students could ultimately be accommodated in the renovated building, according to school board documents. STEAM Academy, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, opened in 2013 with 148 students in the old Johnson Elementary School building on East Sixth Street in downtown Lexington. It emphasizes dual credit opportunities and internships to give students a head start on college.
Thompson said that after renovation, the Georgetown Road building will have two gymnasiums, collaborative spaces, a recording studio, and modern science equipment.
Some STEAM students in dual high school and college courses currently attend classes at Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Cooper Drive property on the University of Kentucky’s campus in Lexington and will remain there after the renovation. But other STEAM students will move from the East SIxth Street building to the Georgetown Road campus.
School district officials have had a hard time finding a permanent home for STEAM Academy.
A plan to move to the University of Kentucky campus in 2015 fell through prior to Superintendent Manny Caulk being hired.
The school board voted in 2013 to buy a former Winn-Dixie site to house the program, but the purchase was not completed.
“I can’t say how excited we are as a district to find a permanent home for STEAM and to give students at the Success Academy a world class learning environment as well ,” Thompson said Monday.
The old Johnson Elementary building can be used for another purpose, Thompson said, but is not best suited for a modern high school.