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Fayette County school board approves buying land for new high school

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The school board unanimously approved the proposal Monday night. The new school will be built on Winchester Road.

Officials with Fayette County Public Schools have approved plans to buy land to build a new, nearly $76 million high school.

The board unanimously approved the plans during a meeting Monday night. The 1,800 student capacity high school will be built on Winchester Road, near Patchen Wilkes Drive.

"I think that this is something that the community has desperately needed," said Doug Barnett, a school board member. "It's an exciting time!"

It would be the city's first new high school since 1990 when Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was built, and the new school is projected to open in August 2017.

School leaders say each of Lexington's five public high schools are at or above capacity. That's why the construction of a new high school is listed among the top priorities for the school board. Officials say student enrollment in the Fayette County Public Schools has grown an average of 750 students per year for the past nine years.

"We have five traditional high schools right now with Henry Clay being the largest, having over 2,400 students when its capacity is 1,800. And so we really just need to make sure we have adequate space for our students," said Tom Shelton, the superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools.

It's set to be located at Winchester Road on 49 acres of land, housing a 275,000 square foot building at the property's center. There was one objection in Monday night's meeting in reference to the new school's location. It was from an attorney of a woman who owns property neighboring the new school's lot. Traffic being her main concern.

"Clearly would expect that we would have a traffic light there that would allow both her and us access to the road," said Superintendent Shelton. "That's certainly been part of our discussion as we've looked at the different sites."

The design phase will start as soon as the spring of 2014 with ground breaking projected in July 2015, giving them a little more than two years to finish.

The redistricting process will begin at the start of the new year.

We are told state officials also have to approve the plan.

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