Excessive rains delay completion date, but new elementary school will open as planned
With more than half of the building already complete, Brenda Cowan Elementary will be ready to welcome students, families, and staff on the first day of school this Aug. 14. But since 2018 was Lexington’s all-time wettest year since 1870, some construction might still be happening on campus.
Although contractors have been hard at work, it rained roughly six out of every 10 days last year, which impacted their progress. By the end of 2018, Fayette County had received at least 26 inches of rain more than usual over the course of the year. At the Fayette County Board of Education’s April 22 meeting, school board members will be asked to extend the deadline for the project’s completion because of the extreme amount of rain days.
When school starts in August, roughly 80% of the building will be ready for occupancy. The good news is Cowan doesn’t need those other rooms to serve the number of students expected in its first year of operation. (The school is being built for 750 to accommodate future growth, but the district anticipates having only 500 students there in 2019-20.)
The aerial view below shows what areas will be complete, including the classrooms, resource rooms, kitchen, cafeteria, gymnasium, media center, support spaces, and administration areas. The parking lot will be ready, as will the bus and car-rider drop-off and pick-up areas. The remaining classroom wing will be finished in September. Contractors will be working in areas A and B after school starts, but the wings are divided by doors, which will make it is easy to separate the construction area from the students and staff. The work will not be noisy or affect instruction.
These changes will not impact the school’s commitment to high-quality education through the lens of arts integration and global competency. Planned after-school services will also continue onsite. Brenda Cowan Elementary will be a safe, welcoming, and positive learning environment beginning on Day 1 and continuing throughout the upcoming school year.
Fayette County Public Schools will keep everyone updated on the building’s progress, and the Cowan Elementary staff looks forward to hosting open houses this summer. Feel free to bring any questions to the community forum on April 23, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Crossroads Church in Andover, 4128 Todds Road.
The areas of the building marked C, D, and E -- including the classrooms needed for projected student enrollment, resource rooms, kitchen, cafeteria, gymnasium, media center, support spaces, and administration areas -- will be complete before the school year begins in mid-August. The parking lot, in addition to the bus and car rider drop-off and pick-up areas, will also be ready to welcome everyone to Brenda Cowan Elementary.