JCPS: New schools, major renovations, permanent spot for boys’ academy in the works

Pollio introduces JCPS proposal for new schools, major renovations

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - With several schools in need of renovations, Jefferson County Public Schools leaders discussed potential plans at a meeting Tuesday.

All in their early stages, the new ideas included building three new elementary schools and a new middle school and renovating one of the district’s flagship high schools.

The new elementary schools would be built near South Dixie Highway, West Broadway, and in the Newburg community.

Each would combine two current elementary schools in those areas that are either under-enrolled or approaching end-of-life use.

There are also plans for a new middle school in the east end, located south of Shelbyville Road.

Chief Operations Officer Dr. Michael Raisor explained that because such a large amount of growth is expected in that area, redistricting won’t work this time.

A major renovation project is in the works at the Academy at Shawnee, where the building’s third floor has been out of use for several years. The work would take two full years, so the classrooms would need to be moved during construction.

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said because some of these communities haven’t seen renovations to their schools in a very long time, he wants to take an innovative approach to cater to the students they will be serving.

“We definitely don’t want a cookie-cutter approach to the schools,” Pollio said. “I want people to really be wowed by the schools we provide them, especially the students.”

Finding a permanent location for the W.E.B. DuBois Academy also is on their agenda.

Since it opened in the fall, the all-boys middle school has been running out of Male High School. But, that was always just a temporary spot. Under the new proposal, the program would move to the former Breckinridge Elementary School building on East Broadway.

W.E.B. Dubois Academy Principal Robert Gunn said while the plans are still in the preliminary stages, he and the students have been looking forward to it since the school year started.

“It just will give them ownership, having a place we can literally call home," he said. “We’re not sharing it with anyone; it is ours and I think it will give us a lot of pride in our school.”

Tuesday’s meeting was just the first step of this process. The advisory committee will meet again in January to vote on the proposal. In the meantime, district leaders will visit all 11 schools that would be affected to get feedback on the potential changes.

Pollio said he is hoping to take the proposal to the school board for a vote in February.

If this is the direction they choose, all projects would begin around the same time and would ideally be complete by the 2021-2022 school year.

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