Russell County Schools Superintendent Michael Ford said the school district is currently at a pause on discussions of building a new middle school.
Ford said the school district’s draft of the district facilities plan was submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education in mid-July on behalf of the district’s local planning committee.
As of this week, Ford told WJRS News the plan is still under review at KDE.
“This is a really long process, and further review and approval is required once the plan is sent back to the local planning committee,” Ford said.
No formal action can take place on beginning the process of constructing a new middle school until that plan is approved, Ford said, because it would require changing the status of the current RCMS building from “permanent” to “transitional.”
A school can’t be replaced until it undergoes a status change to transitional.
While the process plays out, Ford said he, RCMS Principal Wayne Ackerman, and some teachers from RCMS, along with the district’s architects, have toured different middle schools for design ideas.
The school district is considering adding to the existing Auditorium/Natatorium Complex, which already houses sixth grade. Ford said if the district goes the route of adding to the ANC, 7th and 8th grade would move into the building with a new gymnasium, library, and other learning spaces.
Ford said the school district has to take into account the increase in construction costs when considering future plans for RCMS.
“One significant area of concern is rising construction costs versus our restricted funds available for a new middle school,” Ford said.
But a new middle school is high on the priority list for the school district. Actually, Ford said, it’s the most significant need in terms of facilities.
“A new middle school is just one part of our district’s facility plan’s identified needs, but of course, it is the most significant,” Ford said.