JCPS board reviews community feedback from facilities plan

JCPS reviews feedback on facilities plan during board retreat

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Talk continued Tuesday night as leaders of Jefferson County Public Schools look for a solution to overcrowding and aging infrastructure in the district.

“Our kids deserve better than the buildings that we have right now,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said.

A potential plan to build three new elementary schools and a new middle school is on the table.

The $120 million project would affect students in 11 current buildings. Over the last couple weeks, Pollio and his team visited each one.

“In many ways it was startling some of the facilities we send out children to," Pollio said. “And we are going to have to make big steps to change that.”

At the board retreat Tuesday night, Pollio and the board members discussed the community feedback on the plan that has been collected so far.

Pollio said it’s been mostly positive in South Dixie, where students at Watson Lane and Wilkerson would merge into one new building.

Merging Wheatly and Roosevelt-Perry would mean a $60 million investment for west Louisville and a partnership with the new YMCA.

Still, there’s a lot to consider.

“The two schools in district one that are going to be combined for a newer building -- there is some strong history with the naming of both of those schools and how will we come up with a name that is creative to not lose that,” board Chair Diane Porter asked.

Gilmore Lane parents have been the most vocal since changes that impact their families could be coming sooner than the rest.

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The idea is to move Liberty High students into the current Gilmore Lane building.

By the end of this school year, some Gilmore students would transfer to Indian Trail, but the rest would be spread out between other nearby schools.

Pollio said the growing pains will be worth it.

“We’ve just seen a multitude of buildings that are in significant need of renovations,” Pollio said. “It’s really important to me that we take that first step. We acknowledge these are school communities, families and parents that have been a part of the school community -- but I can’t underscore enough the importance of having state of the art, high tech security, brand new buildings with great classroom space, great technology.”

Other changes in the plan include separating the middle and high school students at Minor Daniels into two separate buildings, renovating the Academy at Shawnee and making Breckinridge Metro the permanent home for the W.E.B. DuBois Academy.

Pollio said he hopes to have a proposal ready to present at the March business meeting, where he will take more questions and feedback from the community.

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