New $76 million Lexington high school proposed for Winchester Road, outside New Circle

A new $75.8 million Fayette County public high school is proposed for a 49-acre site on Winchester Road near Patchen Wilkes Drive, according to an agenda for Monday night's school board meeting.

If approved by the board, the new high school at 1970 Winchester Road would have 1,800 students and would open in August 2017, the agenda posted on the school district's website said.

The property would be purchased from Haymaker Development Co., for $5.6 million, according to the document. The appraised value of the property was $7.9 million.

The high school would be Fayette County's first entirely new high school since Paul Laurence Dunbar opened in 1990. A new building for the existing Bryan Station High School was opened in 2007.

Fayette County Superintendent Tom Shelton said Saturday that a redistricting committee would be convened in the spring to draw new enrollment boundaries for schools.

All of Lexington's high schools are either at or above capacity because of rapid population growth, school officials have said, with Henry Clay High School near Richmond Road particularly crowded.

A school at the proposed Winchester Road site would "deal with the crowding issues and the growth," said Shelton. Winchester Road offers easy access to the site. The surrounding land has been divided into a residential subdivision, the agenda documents said.

The project will be paid for with school building revenue bonds, Shelton said. More details will be released Monday night.

The plan for a 275,000 square-foot building is consistent with other Fayette County public high school projects, the agenda said. Cost estimates include building construction and site development costs; design and financing fees; furnishings; surveys; and other miscellaneous expenses.

The building process must begin immediately in order for the school to be ready for occupancy in August 2017, according to the proposal. The school board will be asked to approve designers at a future meeting, according to the agenda.

The district is in the process of obtaining Kentucky Department of Education approval for a new school at the Winchester Road site.

A new 1,800-student school was one of seven new schools included in the school district's 2012 facilities plan, intended to guide district construction projects for 2013-17.

The facilities plan was developed by a 19-member committee to meet projected population growth and enrollment needs.

The district has grown by 750 students each year for the past nine years, district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall previously told the Herald-Leader.

The school board recently approved the purchase of land at 2550 Georgetown Road for $1.5 million from Haymaker Development Co. for an elementary school that will hold 650 students.

The proposed Georgetown Road school is one of the three elementary schools Fayette County plans to build to address overcrowding. The most recent elementary school built, Wellington Elementary on Keithshire Way, opened in 2011.

The board is also moving ahead with construction of a 650-student elementary school on 15 acres north of Interstate 75 at 1281 Deer Haven Lane. The $18.9 million project is expected to be ready for occupancy in August 2016.

District officials have said that they continue to look for property for a third new elementary school.

A new middle school is also planned, Shelton said Saturday, although it is not an immediate priority.

The district also plans to buy the former Winn-Dixie building in a shopping plaza at South Broadway and Virginia Avenue for the STEAM Academy (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), a high school that opened in August in temporary quarters at the old Johnson Elementary School.

That academy is a joint effort of the school district and the University of Kentucky, and it features new teaching techniques.

Fayette County's public high schools

Bryan Station's original building was erected in 1958. In January 2007, a new $43.9 million school opened at 201 Eastin Road. Enrollment: 1,801

Henry Clay High originally opened on Main Street in 1928. The school moved to its current 2100 Fontaine Road building in 1970. Enrollment: 2,331

Lafayette, 401 Reed Lane, opened in 1939. Enrollment: 1,993.

Paul Laurence Dunbar, 1600 Man o' War Boulevard, opened in 1990. Enrollment: 2,222

Tates Creek, 1111 Centre Parkway, opened in 1965. Enrollment: 1,825

Source: Fayette County school district

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