• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Work to begin on new school facilities plan

A committee of parents, teachers and school administrators will soon begin work on a facilities plan for the school district. The Local Planning Committee (LPC) will begin its work by touring school facilities on Jan. 18. "It's just a good way for everybody to put their eyes on what our facilities look like - inside and out," said schools Superintendent Scott Hawkins. LPC members will also receive information about the square-footage of school buildings, the number of classrooms and student capacities for each building before they begin work on an updated facilities plan, which must be approved by the Woodford County Board of Education. A LPC meeting has been scheduled at Southside Elementary on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 5 p.m. Kentucky school districts are required to approve a facilities plan every four years. Hawkins described the process as worthwhile because it involves people from many walks of life and backgrounds. A new high school remains the district's "most pressing need" in terms of facilities, Hawkins said, but other priorities will arise as the LPC goes through the process of updating the facility plan. Some questions - like "Are we going to see some of this (residential) growth during that time frame?" - will be a little difficult to answer because we don't know "when that may happen and how much may happen," Hawkins said. In four years, he predicted, "we'll be in the midst of some of that development at that point in time." In the meantime, he said Planning Director Pattie Wilson can provide insight into when development will likely occur during this year's update of the facilities plan. "One thing about growth," said Hawkins, "is that you've got to stay in front of it. If you ever get behind - it's awfully, awfully hard to try to ever catch up. "You've got to be out in front of the potential growth that you might have. And that will be part of our challenge as we look at this plan." The current facilities plan - approved in May 2013 - included replacing the HVAC systems at Northside and Southside elementary schools, and repurposing the former Early Childhood Center as the district's alternative school: Safe Harbor Academy. All three of those facility needs were addressed and will not remain as priorities on the next school facilities plan.

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