LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)-Believe it or not, school in Fayette County starts in just under three weeks. With that comes a new milestone for the district, the opening of the county’s sixth public high school and for the first time Friday, journalists got a tour.
The sounds of construction will soon be replaced by the sounds Frederick Douglass High School’s hallways are built for, the sounds students make.
Of all the preparation Principal Lester Diaz says, “My head is spinning. I haven’t slept and I absolutely love it!”
This is hard evidence of Lexington’s population growth. Douglass High was built in Hamburg to alleviate overcrowding in other Lexington high schools.
“When you have a smaller learning community within those large high schools, you can make authentic connections with students, develop positive relationships, and really impact the learning in a positive way,” Diaz said.
Douglass does that by dividing students into academies dedicated to subjects like health sciences and professional services.
“We want to create global citizens. We want to create a viable workforce for the local economy,” Diaz said.
The structure is built for that with locations for each academy, two gyms, an auditorium, art space, and a cafeteria with a place to come together called a social stair.
“This is what we anticipate will be the central hub, the central hangout area,” Diaz said of the stair.
It is not just a place where kids can hang out in person. There are also USB ports to keep students plugged in and connected. Part of that connection also comes in the school’s many library spaces, which are flexible by design.
“I can move it and wheel it and turn it and spin it,” Library/Media Specialist Kelli Reno said, showing off the easy to move bookshelves.
Reno says the modular library is all part of that mission to prepare students to be flexible, collaborative employees.
“Our goal is to put as few barriers between the students and what they want to do as possible,” Reno said.
Perhaps the biggest barrier removed is crowding, the one making all this possible for teachers and their students. Douglass’ principal says about 900 students are enrolled right now. Many of them will get an official first look inside their new home early next month, after the school’s ribbon cutting ceremony.