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As Spencer County’s two elementary schools prepare to exceed their enrollment capacity, the district’s facilities planning committee was reconvened last Thursday to discuss the options.
Committee members were told that any newly-built elementary school in Kentucky is required to not exceed a capacity of 600 students.
But that causes a problem for school officials who said that the county would be better served with a new school that could handle as many as 800 students.
“The thing that we have in our favor is that we are a rapid growth district,” said Superintendent Chuck Adams. “I feel we have a good shot at getting approval.”
If approval was granted, the plan would then be to re-district the county, splitting students between Spencer County Elementary and the new school.
Adams said moving K-5 from the decades-old building would make Taylorsville Elementary available for other initiatives, such as vocational education – a program that Adams said, he’s “always been an advocate for .”
Brett Beaverson, the school district’s director of operations, said that a new elementary school could cost as much as $13.4 million at the current price of $186 a square foot.Adams said the district’s bonding potential – the amount the district can finance – is just under $8 million. By the end of the school year, he expects that number could reach $11 million.
Beaverson told members of the facilities planning committee that TES is becoming increasing expensive to repair and update. He quoted the cost to re-roof the old gym at $230,000.
“Right now about 75 percent of the roof is wet. It’s holding water,” said Beaverson, “and our guys are chasing the cracks.”
“There’s no way to bring the old elementary up to the capacity we need,” said John Shircliffe, facilities planning committee member.
Currently, SCES has an enrollment of 796 and a capacity of 800. TES is equally as crowded with 452 students and a cap of 450.
Adams said that Spencer County’s school district was averaging 90 additional students a year throughout grades K - 12. The current school year has only seen an increase of about 30 new students – something Adams said he contributes to the slowing economy.
There was some talk about possible locations for a new school, but at this stage all Adam’s could assure was that the building would need access to city sewers.
“Some sites have been looked at to see if they would be feasible. By looking at demographics, the Yoder Tipton/Little Mount area would be the first area to consider. But everything at this point is hypothetical,” said Adams.
The role of the committee is to amend the district’s facility plan with their recommendations to the school board. Any decisions to move forward on a new elementary would left up to the Spencer County School Board pending approval from the Kentucky Department of Education.
The next facilities planning committee meeting is scheduled for Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria at TES. Following the meeting will be a public forum.