Education

A $90 million state-of-the-art high school brings a ‘healthy rivalry’ to Scott County

Drone footage of Great Crossing High School

Drone footage showing the newly constructed Great Crossing High School in Georgetown. The first day of school will be Aug. 21.
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Drone footage showing the newly constructed Great Crossing High School in Georgetown. The first day of school will be Aug. 21.

The new Great Crossing High School in Scott County that’s scheduled to open Wednesday “is a beautiful, classic building, that is going to be beautiful 50, 60, 80 years from now,” said Superintendent Kevin Hub.

“To have a beautiful building we really didn’t waste any of the taxpayers’ dollars,” said Hub.

Including the athletic facilities, Scott County’s second high school project cost a total of about $90 million. The 3 1/2 story school building that Hub acknowledges feels “massive” cost a little more than $70 million.

In 2017, the Scott County school board approved a property-tax increase to help fund the construction of Great Crossing High School.

Great Crossing Principal Joy Lusby, who was previously an assistant principal at Scott County High School, said the new 278,000 square foot building is about the same size as the current Scott County High building. It opened in 1996, said district spokeswoman Renee Holmes.

Despite 247 days of rain during construction,”we are opening the building when we told the community we were opening the building,” said Hub.

Work crews were all over the new campus Thursday.

Still to be completed when the doors open will be the welding classroom and a 750-seat auditorium with a hydraulic orchestra pit that Hub expects to be a focal point for both community and student performances.

The Scott County community has needed a second high school for at least 20 years, district officials said.

Scott County High School was way over capacity, Hub said, with about 2,800 students in a building designed for about 1,300 students.

Scott County’s growth is projected to make it the top-growing county in Kentucky by percentage by 2040, the Herald-Leader has reported. In 2015, the population was 52,420. By 2040, about 97,745 people will be living in the county, data has shown.

As of Aug. 15, 1,440 students were set to be enrolled at Great Crossing at its Aug. 21 opening, but Hub said the building has the capability to expand to accommodate 1,930 students. District officials have “roughed in” an area of six to eight additional classrooms in case the need arises.

“We’re in great shape for decades to come,” he said.

“A second high school... doubles the opportunities for kids, doubles the opportunities for student athletes, doubles the opportunities for kids to play in the band, and sing in the choir... doubles the opportunities for student leaders,” said Hub.

High school teachers and administrators helped to design the new school. Students were also asked for opinions.

“The technology is first-rate... that is something students will benefit from on day one,” said science teacher Greshen Willis. “The equipment and the facilities are all impeccable. The kids are going to flourish.”

Every four classrooms will share an area where students and teachers from various classes can collaborate. Lusby said classrooms have 77-inch computer monitors on the wall. There are four academic wings. The cafeteria features several booths and grab and go options so students are more comfortable.

Significant attention was given to make the school safe with a secure vestibule and spaces where all students are easily visible and easy for staff to supervise.

Every high school student in Scott County had the choice to attend either high school. Hub said about 55 percent of students chose Great Crossing and 45 percent chose Scott County High.

Great Crossing has about 80 teachers and Scott County High about 65, he said.

“Great Crossing High School is not a cookie cutter (version) of Scott County High School,” said Lusby. “Scott County (High) is ... legendary in and of itself. The following in this community that they have is unprecedented” with academic and athletic accomplishments.

“But I do believe this community was ready to support another high school,” said Lusby.

She said an Aug. 12 Scott County High-Great Crossing soccer game drew large crowds for both sides and seeing the rivalry between the new green and navy Warhawks and Scott County High’s blue and red Cardinals was fun.

“It is going to be a healthy rivalry in this community,” Hub said. “Both schools are going to have a significant number of very strong athletic, extracurricular and academic programs.”

The original Great Crossing High School building on Frankfort Road was erected in 1939 and named Great Crossing to honor one of the first settlements in the community where buffalo crossed Elkhorn Creek, according to the school district’s website.

A high school program existed at Great Crossing School until county schools consolidated to form Scott County High School in 1955. Great Crossing continued to serve the community as a school until the opening of Western Elementary in 1993, the website said. The original Great Crossing building now houses the Scott County Board of Education Central Office.

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