During a celebratory meeting Thursday, the Scott County Board of Education announced construction of a brand new Scott County High School will begin next summer with plans to open during the fall of 2023.

“Let me make this abundantly clear,” said Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub. “This will be done without any new taxes. One nickel will be enough.”

The  surprise announcement was made by board member Susan Duncan who has been an advocate for renovating or constructing a new building for Scott County Middle School. By building a new Scott County High School, the existing SCHS will eventually become home to the middle school.

Last fall, two new schools opened in Scott County — Great Crossing High School (GCHS) and Creekside Elementary — thanks to a “nickel” tax on property values passed by the school board. The current SCHS building had been overcrowded for years, with almost as many as twice the number of students it was constructed to accommodate, before GCHS was built. GCHS was built at a cost of about $90 million and includes an expansive athletic complex.

Once GCHS was completed, the board had promised to renovate SCHS. But a close look at the building revealed the renovations would be greater than originally believed.

“That building (SCHS) has been used for nearly twice as many students as intended for years,” Hub said explaining the wear and tear on the building. “We’re not going to try and renovate a 25-year-old building. They’ll get a brand new building.”

The proposed timeline will have the next 12 months used to design and plan the new school building with advertisement for bids to be during June 2021. Bids will be opened in July 2121 and ground breaking should be later that month.

“We just built two schools, including a high school, so I think we have a pretty good idea what we want and what works,” Hub said. “Once construction starts, they’ll have a full 24 months to build the school, which is a year more than we had for Great Crossing.”

The board hopes to have a full athletic complex to open at the same time as the new school.

“Our goal will be to sharpen our pencils to include the athletic complex,” the superintendent said.

For much of its existence SCHS has used Georgetown College’s football stadium and the county’s baseball and softball fields until last year when Bird’s Nest Stadium near the GCHS campus was opened. The two schools shared the football stadium.

The new school will be built on a farm purchased by the school board almost 15 years ago. The property sits inside the new bypass which is scheduled to be completed this fall between Long Lick Pike and Delaplain/Cherry Blossom Way.

Hub praised previous school boards for the foresight to purchase the land, which makes the construction possible. Former superintendent Dallas Blankenship led the purchase  with the plan it might one day be the site for a new school once the bypass was completed.

“They aren’t making more land,” Hub said. “If the previous school boards had not purchased this land, I’m not sure where we would have found enough property to build.”

Once the new SCHS building is completed, the current high school will be renovated to accommodate Scott County Middle School (SCMS). That renovation will take about a year before students will be moved, Hub said. SCMS currently has about 750 students.

The fate of the existing SCMS building remains up in the air.

“There’s just so much you can do with that building,” Hub said.

Even so, once the SCMS building is vacated, it may be renovated or torn down possibly for a new elementary school or Phoenix Horizon, board members speculated.

“We’re going to keep on growing,” Hub warned. The school system has averaged increasing about 300 students annually, the equivalent of an elementary school. 

Hub praised the school board and the community for the opportunity to build a new high school. The nickel tax has given the school system new life, he said.

“This just does not happen,” Hub said. “This board has had the luxury of working on several major projects at once.”

 

Mike Scogin can be reached at mscogin@news-graphic.com.

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