Building a Better Future for the Students of Lawrence County:
An Overview of the Current Draft of the District Facilities Plan
Draft as of December 29, 2022
(This article is the second of a series that will cover topics pertaining to planning, remodeling, building, and financing school facilities in Lawrence County. The articles will be published during the months of December and January.)
Previously, I outlined the state-mandated process for district facilities planning that is used for all Kentucky public schools. As stated before, this process has multiple steps and ends with a district facilities plan, or DFP, that is submitted to the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) for final approval. Any potential construction project in the four years that follow should be listed in that school district’s DFP.
At this point in our process, a draft DFP has been approved by our local planning committee, and the draft DFP has been reviewed by the Kentucky Department of Education. Next, school district representatives will review KDE’s comments before presenting the plan to Lawrence County citizens for final suggestions in a public hearing. After suggestions are taken in the public hearing, district administration will request a series of approvals (and possibly amendments) by the local planning committee, the Lawrence County Board of Education, and the Kentucky Board of Education. (The summary of the DFP process can be found in my previous article, which can be viewed by clicking the following link: https://5il.co/1ligk.)
The current draft of the district facilities plan has multiple projects that have been identified by the Ross-Tarrant Architects firm. This group of architects and engineers assessed our facilities and made suggestions for the draft DFP. Members of the local planning committee reviewed the findings of the architect firm representatives and also made suggestions for the current draft DFP. While a complete draft will be presented in the upcoming public hearing, here is an overview of the major projects that are currently listed in our DFP:
- Constructing a New Louisa West
- Reconfiguring the school system
- Blaine and Fallsburg would become preschool through sixth grade schools.
- Louisa West would include P, K, 1st, 2nd grades.
- Louisa East would include 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th grades.
- Louisa Middle would become Lawrence County Middle and include all 7th and 8thgrade students for the entire district.
- Lawrence County High School would continue to serve students in Grades 9 through 12.
- Repairing/replacing the roof of Louisa Middle School
- Adding a lunchroom/cafeteria space for Fallsburg Elementary
- Adding a separate “box gym” area for Blaine Elementary
- Building an auditorium at Lawrence County High School
- Securing all schools with a holding/vestibule area (similar to the entrance at LCHS)
- Building a walkway between the tennis courts to connect the football parking lot with the LCHS parking lot
- Renovating the maintenance facility, bus garage, and central office
- Upgrading sports facilities and playground areas
Each project has its own reason for addition into the DFP. For example, Louisa West was built in 1954 and would require nearly the same amount of money to renovate as opposed to building a new facility. Other projects are included in order to make necessary repairs, to improve safety, to better utilize the space we have, to upgrade outdated facilities, etc. As for moving all 6th graders to an elementary setting, research shows that students who remain in the elementary setting in the 6th grade often have less disciplinary issues and often score higher on standardized tests.
Keep in mind, these are just highlights of the current draft district facilities plan for our district. After more discussions with representatives from the architect firm and from the Kentucky Department of Education, a detailed draft plan will be released for public review and additional input.
No doubt, many of you are asking yourself, “How do we pay for this?” After the public hearing is scheduled, I will release a third article that answers just that!
In the meantime, let’s focus on building a better future for the students of Lawrence County. They deserve it!
-Dr. Robbie Fletcher
Dr. Robbie Fletcher
Superintendent, Lawrence County Schools
Email: email@example.com Work: 606.638.9671
Twitter: Dr. Fletcher@All_in_LC Mobile: 606.371.2587