LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)- Thousands of Fayette County School students headed back to class on Wednesday morning. More than a thousand of them started their year in a brand new building.
Frederick Douglass High School on Winchester Road welcomed students for the first time on Wednesday. It is the district's first new high school in nearly 30 years. Teachers and staff manned the hallways to help students find their way through the building. FDHS principal Lester Diaz told us he hopes the staff will also get feedback on what needs to be done in order to keep things moving smoothly. So far, students seem to be enjoying the new surroundings.
"I'm excited for our new school and it's a nice place to go to," said freshman Meghan Whitehouse
"Feeling pretty confident about the sports here and the academics and IT program, so I'm pretty excited," said freshman Otreyvien Taylor.
"I'm feeling excited because it's my last year and I can finally get out of high school, but I'm glad to spend my last year at a good school like this," said senior Obie Taylor.
Superintendent Manny Caulk says it's also important to recognize the history the Douglass name holds in Lexington. The original Douglass High School closed 53 years ago.
"To see that history come full circle, to see our community understands that we are stronger together. This was a historic moment," said Caulk.
The $82 million building can accommodate 1,800 students. Right now, there are about 1,040 enrolled. Caulk says traffic surveys will be conducted in the area to help address any traffic concerns.
There was one other order of business on the first day. Students voted on the school's new mascot. They picked the Broncos.
The announcement was met with thunderous applause during a school-wide pep rally at the close of the school day. Students selected The Broncos as their mascot from a field of five equestrian themed choices that also included Mustangs, Racers, Stampede and Thoroughbreds.
“Allowing students to vote on the mascot gave us a unique opportunity to teach our students about student voice and social awareness,” said Lester Diaz, Frederick Douglass High School principal.
After first unveiling the school mascot as The Stallions in January, school and district officials decided to instead allow students to select their own mascot when school opened. The initial announcement drew heated critics and vehement defenders and officials rescinded choice rather than allowing the selection of a mascot to become a divisive issue for the community.