Community sounds off against land being considered for new JCPS middle school

The property being considered for a new JCPS middle school is a 230-acre lot on Echo Trail, close to Beckley Creek Park.
Updated: Jan. 17, 2020 at 12:50 AM EST
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District 7 Board Member Chris Brady said the building would have seats for about 1,000 students.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools is considering buying a property for a new middle school in the eastern part of the district.

“Middle school capacity has been an issue there for far too long,” District 7 Board Member Chris Brady said. “Many of our schools are due for a refresh, a remodel or even basically a brand new build.”

The property is a 230-acre lot on Echo Trail, close to Beckley Creek Park.

Brady said the building would have seats for about 1,000 students. He said he sees the location as a great opportunity for students to learn more about the environment.

Plans for what the school would look like haven’t been announced, but the architects hired to design it are the same ones who worked on the South Central Library.

"I think it has very minimal impact or effect to the area surrounding it and I’m hoping we can replicate that same type of experience with this new middle school,” Brady said.

At the public meeting between the district and the community at Eastern High School, the plans were met with some resistance because the property falls in an environmental protection area designated more than 25 years ago to prevent building along Floyds Fork Creek.

“We have eagles, we have otters, we have a functional viable ecosystem,” neighbor Jeff Frank told WAVE 3 News. “We must as a community build without killing the environment that we are building in.”

“Our community cannot afford to pollute another creek like we did Beargrass Creek,” nearby farm owner David Kaylan said.

Dr. Marty Polio said these concerns are something they will be looking into.

“JCPS has been very cognizant with making sure buildings are eco-friendly and green and we know this building would be that,” Polio said.

But there’s another red flag for those who live in this largely undeveloped area: the traffic.

“The roads are not adequate and you know it,” Leslie Lovelace, who lives across the street, said at the meeting. “They’re not adequate for the traffic we have today.”

Pollio says that lack of infrastructure is an issue with a lot of the properties they are looking at and that building up is something they won’t be able to avoid.

“As far as I know the area is lacking in infrastructure, having rural roads and no sewer,” another meeting attendant complained.

The superintendent defended complains with the fact that subdivisions have already been approved to be built in the area.

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