MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Three high schools in McCracken County will close to open one central high school. Monday, school officials gave a first look at the construction progress.
Mike Smith, one of the project's architects, said one of the things they're focusing on with the building is to make it something for the whole community.
He said they're building a 700 person auditorium, a gymnasium, and sports fields that should all benefit more than just the students at the high school.
Smith said they're also focused on safety with secure entrances and courtyards that will be easy to monitor students.
He said they're making the building environmentally efficient, and adding sources of natural light, since Smith said it's shown a lot of natural light can help kids perform better in the classroom.
"It's all about the students and teachers, everything from looking at the educational model, to trips around the united states with the staff, so you need to involve the staff, cause this as Nan said is really driven by its function, the curriculum drives the function of the building," said Smith.
McCracken County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nancy Waldrop said the talk for a new high school all started when they started to see overcrowded at some of the schools.
Waldrop said after the new high school opens, the previous high school buildings will become middle schools, and the middle schools will become intermediate schools, all to reduce the number of students at each school.
Waldrop said the teachers aren't employed at a school, they're employed to a district, so she said the teachers will automatically be eligible for jobs at the new high school.
Some people are already asking what will happen to the sports programs, will they suffer or strive?
"Well you know what's going to happen, we're going to be a powerhouse in academics, and we're going to be a powerhouse in athletics too," said Waldrop.
"We want to have enough that every kid finds a place here, and so if we're a power house in intramural sports, that's great, varsity sports, that's great too, but we want to prepare kids for the world," said new Principal Michael Ceglinski.
Waldrop said the single school will offer students with more opportunities, like more AP classes, and career preparation the students might not have had access to at the smaller schools.
Waldrop said the project is on time and on budget.
The McCracken County High School is scheduled to open for the school year starting Fall 2013. It will bring students from Heath, Lone Oak, and Reidland High Schools. It should house about 1,500 students. County residents voted in November 2008 to combine the three high schools. It's located on US Highway 60, just west of Paducah.
The new principal, Ceglinski started as a biology teacher at Lone Oak High School, and later become assistant principal.
He's also served as interim principal of Heath High School, and principal of Ballard Memorial High School. Most recently, he's been the Director of High School Instruction for McCracken County Public Schools since 2008.
"In our three high schools we have great programs, but we have great programs that are isolated to certain kids, so when it came time to build a school we wanted to be able to offer it to everyone," said Ceglinski. "So it wasn't just a Lone Oak student, or a Heath students, or a Reidland student, seeing the benefit, we saw it all for all kids."