LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Construction of the new $15-million Norton Commons Elementary School is on schedule to open in August, according to officials with Jefferson County Public Schools.

"The roof is on and the windows are being put in," said Michael Raisor, JCPS chief operations officer. "Everything is on time and running on schedule."

Norton Commons Elementary School will have a capacity of 650 students, but is only expected to have approximately 400 students this fall.

It will be the district's 92nd elementary school and the first new facility to open since Ramsey Middle School opened in 2008. Two other elementary schools -- Farmer and Stopher -- were also built and opened in 2007.

"Everything is just beautifully designed -- it's all geothermal and uses modern technology," said Marilyn Osborn Patterson, marketing director for Norton Commons. "The school will connect to the YMCA through a gym. It will be one of the only connections between a YMCA and a school in the United States. We are very excited about that."

Here are some of the highlights provided to JCPS by the project manager on Dec. 18:

  • Exterior walls are complete in most areas. Walls in gym area are about 80% complete.
  • All concrete slabs are complete; both stairs to second floor are set.
  • Drywall has been hung and taped in the bulk of the long classroom wing.
  • All punched-opening windows have been installed; large openings with storefront are being covered with plywood or plastic sheeting until storefront windows arrive.
  • Limestone base has been installed in courtyard and is beginning on the street elevations.
  • Brick is compete on the south side of the courtyard and about one-fourth complete on the north side.
  • Most of the site perimeter walks have been installed thanks to the above-normal temperatures.

The Jefferson County Board of Education voted in October to name the school after the community in which it is located. 

District officials say that even though the school is being built in Norton Commons, it is not a school just for that community — it will serve students across the entire county.

The school board also approved a plan for the assignment of students at the new school. The district will draw the boundary using only Chancey Elementary School's existing boundary area and there would be no changes to Zachary Taylor Elementary School students.

District officials said the recommended boundary has several advantages, including being the "least disruptive and providing extra capacity within Cluster 10 for future growth."

Meanwhile, during the JCPS State of the District press conference Jan. 12, Raisor said he is proceeding with a detailed infrastructure assessment of each of the district's buildings.

"This assessment will show what our needs are," he said. "We will look at transportation, building capacity. Most of our buildings are baby-boomer buildings, built in the 1950s and 1960s. Should we start replacing buildings? Those things take money and planning. This is the first step."

Raisor said he expects to have the infrastructure report ready to present to the school board in June.


Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.
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