New middle school moving to next step, update on Tates Creek High School construction

The Fayette County Board of Education met to approve the application for the new middle school

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The latest application for the new middle school in Lexington estimated to open in 2025 has been approved.

Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall released a statement that says:

“Amid economic uncertainty and volatility in the construction market, the Fayette County Board of Education is committed to evaluating all possible options and making fiscally sound decisions that serve the needs of our students and community. There are many layers to the facilities planning process outlined in Kentucky state law, requiring multiple reviews by the state department of education. Tonight’s board action simply revises state-required paperwork that will allow us to put the middle school project out to bid later this summer and consider possible action in the fall.”

Beyond the approval, an update was also given on the construction for the new Tates Creek High School, which is getting a complete remodel, set to be open and ready for students in the fall.

The old Tates Creek High School has been demolished with a new building going up in its place. Myron Thompson, Chief Operating Officer for FCPS, says the communication system within the building is being installed as well as flooring and electrical wire.

“We are still scheduled to complete next month with 90% of the project being completed,” says Thompson.

While the building itself is set to be done in July, Thompson says sitework will continue into November.

“The parking and everything will be done by the first day of school,” says Thompson.

Monday’s board meeting also gave Fayette County Superintendent Demetrus Liggins high marks on his first-year evaluation.

A full statement from FCPS reads:

“Members of the Fayette County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to give the district’s new leader high marks on his first annual evaluation. Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Demetrus Liggins received scores of either exemplary or accomplished in nine different areas after his first 11 months on the job.

“Our Board of Education team acknowledges both the accomplishments and progress Superintendent Demetrus Liggins has made in his first year in Fayette County Public Schools,” said School Board Chairman Tyler Murphy. “The adoption of Dr. Liggins’ 2021-2022 summative evaluation recognizes his skills, his efforts, and the collaborative, supportive culture he has established in his first year as superintendent.”

Liggins credited others for the positive review.

“Although my name is on the evaluation, I cannot do this work alone,” he said. “I want to thank the Team of Six for their support and for allowing my leadership team and I to be visionary, to dream big, and to think outside of the box.”

With an official start date of July 26, 2021, Liggins joined the Fayette County Public Schools just as COVID-19 cases were surging due to the Delta variant. Prioritizing the health and safety of students, employees, and families while following current science and recommendations from health experts, Liggins worked diligently to ensure students experienced the joys, benefits, and supports of uninterrupted in-person instruction. His innovative approach included partnerships with local, state, and federal agencies to implement best practices deliberately and consistently, and his weekly communication with employees and families demonstrated transparency and a commitment to dialogue.

“The members of Team FCPS rolled up their sleeves and tackled every challenge that came their way this year – and there were certainly many,” Liggins said. “Our families entrusted us with not only the responsibility of educating their children, but also with their well-being, health, and care. Our students showed up every day despite the uncertainties they were facing and continued to give their best.”

The evaluation process approved by the board grades the superintendent in the areas of budget and finance, human resources, teaching and learning, and school safety and climate. Within each of those areas, they also look at his performance on equity and student achievement, management, communications and public engagement, leadership and culture, and board relations. Possible ratings include Ineffective, Developing, Accomplished, or Exemplary.

“Dr. Liggins is a skilled communicator with the ability to translate his focus and vision into meaningful action and outcomes,” Murphy said.

Liggins received exemplary marks on budget and finance, school safety and climate, leadership and culture, and board relations. He was rated accomplished in human resources, teaching and learning, equity and student achievement, management, communications and public engagement.

Skilled at ensuring that the daily demands of the work do not impede long-range planning and execution Liggins was successfully able to navigate the ever-changing challenges caused by COVID-19 while also developing the district’s next strategic plan with significant public input. In his first year, Liggins prioritized organizational changes that will support future success, such as realigning support for schools, reimagining the budgeting process, and establishing cross-functional teams.

“We understand that progress requires intentional action, time, and patience and we believe Dr. Liggins embraces that challenge with passion and commitment,” Murphy said. “There is much work ongoing and we are optimistic to see the continued positive impact this work will have on the students and families we serve.”

See the full evaluation document HERE.

Read Fayette County Board of Education Chairman Tyler Murphy’s full statement HERE.

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