Education

A ’21st Century’ change. How a Lexington church will transform into two schools.

Success Academy gives high schoolers a second chance in education

Success Academy, a new Fayette County public schools program, opened along Georgetown Road to help students 16 years and older from dropping out.
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Success Academy, a new Fayette County public schools program, opened along Georgetown Road to help students 16 years and older from dropping out.

A rendering of the $26.9 million transformation of the former Imani Baptist Church into a new space for Lexington’s STEAM and SUCCESS academies has been released showing what one district official called a “modern, 21-century look.”

Myron Thompson, the district’s chief operating officer, who revealed the rendering Aug. 26 at the Fayette County Public Schools board meeting, said most of the building at 1555 Georgetown Road would be demolished. About 30 percent of building has been demolished at this point.

“We’re starting over,” he said. “The facility was designed as a church with a lot of unique activities that they were doing in the community.”

“We’re retaining... the gymnasium, and some of the fitness area. But aside from that, we are really retrofitting it for educational purposes,” said Thompson. “All of the interior with the exception of the gym is being demolished and rebuilt with an educational program in mind for the STEAM Academy and the Success Academy.”

The board purchased the former church from a holding company in December 2017.

The Success Academy for students who are behind in high school credits opened in 2018 at the Imani site but those student have been moved to the old Linlee Elementary building on Spurr Road until the renovation is complete.

Thompson said students in both the Success Academy and the STEAM Academy are now expected to move into the renovated building in January 2021. He said district officials initially thought the renovated building would be in use by the fall of 2020, “but once we got into the project we realized that we probably are going to need more time.”

The STEAM Academy, which stands for stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, opened in 2013 in the old Johnson Elementary School building on East Sixth Street in downtown Lexington. It focuses on dual credit opportunities and internships to give students a head start on college.

Some STEAM students in dual high school and college courses will continue to attend classes at Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s Cooper Drive property on the University of Kentucky’s campus in Lexington after the renovation. But other STEAM students will move from the East Sixth Street building to the Georgetown Road building. About 80 Success Academy students and 600 STEAM students could move into the renovated building, according to board documents from July.

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