Watson Lane Elementary prepared for re-opening as new JCPS school remains under construction
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Teachers spent the past week at Watson Lane Elementary preparing their classrooms, putting finishing touches on a warm welcome that wasn’t expected.
Watson Lane Elementary was previously closed at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, and students who attended the elementary school were expected to attend the new Wilkerson Elementary School this year.
JCPS needed to re-open the school as a back-up plan after the new school building on Johnsontown Road failed to pass a Louisville Metro government building inspection last Tuesday
The failed inspection means students and staff will have to be moved to another location as the building earns its Certificate of Occupancy.
Principal Sara Alvey said Watson Lane is fully staffed and the school passed its inspection.
Staff are ready to welcome the 550 students Wednesday who merged from the old Wilkerson Elementary and Watson Lane Elementary.
Alvey said Watson Lane previously held around 300 students and had empty classrooms.
“Since we are merging two schools and bringing the families together, once the kids get in the building... you just come to life,” Alvey said. “And that’s what we are all just excited for.”
Yesenia Ochoa said she came from the old Wilkerson Elementary School and will be teaching third grade English as a Second Language (ESL).
“To see new students, get to know them, get to know their personalities, build relationships with them and their families, that’s really what I’m excited for,” Ochoa said.
Ochoa said many teachers chose not to unpack everything, unsure how long until they relocate to the new Wilkerson Elementary. They said movers helped a lot.
”It’s been a little bit hectic, but we made it work,” Ochoa said. “We moved our things into classrooms, teachers set up their rooms. We had people from the district come out, and they did our hallway bulletins for meet the teachers, so we wouldn’t be so stressed out as teachers getting the classrooms together. So we have had a lot of support.”
The district said it plans to finish construction and pass certification in a matter of weeks, not months, but they are not sure exactly how long that will take.
Due to staffing shortages, JCPS bus routes may often require a second run in the mornings and afternoons to pick up students from bus stops not covered in a first run, according to the district.
To check on your child’s bus route, you can visit the “Bus Delay Dashboard.” Parents and guardians looking for their child’s bus route and nearest bus stop can also access the interactive Bus Finder website, or by calling (502) 485-RIDE (7433).
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