Land purchase approved for new two new schools in Fayette County

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fayette County Public Schools will soon build a middle school and a second elementary school east of I-75, according to the district.

The Fayette County Board of Education on Monday night unanimously voted to authorize the purchase of roughly 47-acres of land on Polo Club Boulevard at a cost of $275,000 per acre, according to FCPS.

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“Land is hard to come by here in Fayette County and our staff has worked diligently to identify suitable property for these new schools in a developing area like this one,” said Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk. “We’re excited to partner with families, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, and local business leaders to design a school that will take our students into the 22nd century.”

The property purchase approved Monday will not be final until after the district completes several due diligence steps and receives final approval from the Kentucky Department of Education.

The land is located at 2185 and 2345 Polo Club Blvd. and is currently owned by Polo Club 1, LLC and Ausbrook Polo LLC (Madden family).

The actual cost of the land is $14.24 million, but the sellers are making a charitable gift of $1.34 million, bringing the price to the district to $12.9 million, according to the school district.

“We’re grateful to the Madden family for their generous donation and for being willing to sell us this land for one of the highest possible uses, which is to educate the future of our community,” Caulk said.

The property is large enough to house both an elementary and middle school, but work would begin first on a middle school, according to FCPS.

“We continue to be a destination district for families in Central Kentucky, and as a growing district, we have to be proactive about staying ahead of new housing construction, while also renovating and maintaining existing facilities,” Caulk said. “Today’s board decision will help us alleviate crowding in our district middle schools, and position us to stay ahead of crowding at the elementary level.”

The newest middle school building in the district is Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, which opened in August of 2004. Since that time, major renovations have been completed at four other middle schools, including Bryan Station, Jessie Clark, Leestown and Tates Creek middle. Projected enrollment for the 2020-21 school year puts eight of the district’s 12 middle schools at or above 100% capacity, according to FCPS.

Over the past decade, Fayette County Public Schools has grown by roughly 500-to-700 students per year and currently serves more than 43,000 students, according to the school district.

The district has opened four new schools in less than four years — Brenda Cowan Elementary School in the fall of 2019, Frederick Douglass High School in the fall of 2017, and Coventry Oak and Garrett Morgan elementary schools in the fall of 2016.

Construction is currently underway on a permanent home for STEAM Academy and Success Academy at 1555 Georgetown Road, and will start soon on a new building to replace the existing Tates Creek High School, according to FCPS.

If the district is able to close on the property this fall as planned, construction on the middle school could begin as early as the fall 2021 and would take 18 -24 months to complete. Current plans call for a 110,521 square foot middle school to house 900 students and a 67,898 square foot elementary school to serve 650 students, according to the district.

“The board’s action Monday puts the district in a position to complete all of the new construction priorities in our 2017 facilities plan,” said Chief Operating Officer Myron Thompson. “Finishing those allows us to turn our attention to the rest of the plan, which includes major renovations of 16 facilities, a new vision for the district’s technical centers, and wholesale renovations at Henry Clay, Lafayette, and Paul Laurence Dunbar high schools and three middle schools”.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.