New schools in Pike Co. bring more opportunity

PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - School officials in one Eastern Kentucky county are excited about the progress of two big projects in the district. Pike County Schools will be opening two brand new school buildings for the upcoming school year, something officials say is a big move for the district.

Officials say it is an exciting time in Pike County as construction at the new Phelps and Valley Elementary is entering the finishing stages. The new Phelps Elementary will replace the current Phelps Elementary building which officials say is a very old and run down structure. Valley Elementary, will be the new home to Virgie Middle, George F. Johnson, and Robinson Creek schools.

Pike County Superintendent Frank Wagner says, "Economically this is going to save the district tons of revenue by combining and having a modern building with three schools under the same roof...the savings are going to be unbelievable."

Along with the economic benefits of the new buildings officials say what sticks out to them the most is the increase in instructional opportunity for students. Construction manager at Valley Elementary, Starr Handy, says "You get into a newer building, it is a better learning environment with more technology and the overall facilities will really facilitate better learning for the kids who come in here."

Wagner says, "This gives us the opportunity to put in and hire a lot of elective teachers for things like music, band, art, P.E. and chorus.

School officials say because of the overwhelming benefits, the district already has other projects like this in the preliminary stages. That includes plans for another new building, Belfry Elementary, which would consolidate Bevins, Blackberry, and Southside schools.

Officials say they plan for all construction at Valley and Phelps to be completed by May so that faculty and staff can get moved into their new schools over the summer break.

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