Opening of new Scott Co. high school likely delayed after board rejects plans

SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - The opening of a new high school in Scott County likely will be delayed after the school board voted Thursday not to approve the school's site preparation package.

Those plans, as well as plans and specifications for the future Great Crossing High School building, were rejected by two separate 3-2 votes at the board's regular board meeting Thursday night at Georgetown Middle School.

School board chair Haley Conway, vice-chair Kevin Kidwell and member Stephanie Powers voted against both sets of plans. Members Jo Anna Fryman and Jennifer Holbert voted to approve them.

At the board's work session last week, the school board tabled those plans. The board previously delayed action on the site prep plan at a meeting last month.

Because of a 60-day deadline to award bids for the site prep package, the school board would have had to approve the plans at Thursday's meeting in order for the school to open as originally scheduled in August 2017, the architect and design team said.

"The board has decided not to go forward, so my work at this point is complete and I just have to wait for direction from the board," said Michael Smith, principal and architect at Sherman Carter Barnhart Architects. "Depending on what they decide will affect the cost and the timing."

Prior to the votes, several residents spoke during the public comment period, urging the board not to wait to move forward with the plans.

"I urge the board tonight to go ahead with the second high school," said Jeffery Stone. "Immediately. If you have to get a damn shovel out and dig the ground yourself. Do it now."

The first phase of Great Crossing High School (providing classroom space for 700 high school students) was originally scheduled to open in time for the 2017-2018 school year, with two other construction phases to follow, on property next to Elkhorn Crossing School.

Chairman Haley Conway emphasized that the county's future second high school still will be built to help alleviate overcrowding at Scott County High School.

"We are going to have a second high school," Conway said. "That's not the issue."

Now, however, questions remain as to what that school may look like, and when the county will see it.

"We have had this, we have looked at it," Fryman said. "We have all had input. We've had the opportunity to have questions answered - questions asked and answered - and if we don't do that then shame on us."

The members who opposed the plans had expressed concerns at the board's work session last week, a meeting in which a board-commissioned committee reported that the new school likely would not be able to field sports teams or offer other extracurricular activities when it opened, due to a lack of facilities.

At that work session, vice-chair Kevin Kidwell also inquired about exploring other options to save money on building the school, in order to address other issues.

"I do know that any money I can save, whether it's ten dollars or a million and ten dollars, is that much that we can add to that school to make it that much more complete, faster," he said at the time.

The board's next work session is scheduled for November 5. Chairman Haley Conway asked architects to attend so they can work together to address any problems and move forward.

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