Land purchase approved for new two new schools in Fayette County

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.

“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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