By William Croyle
ALEXANDRIA - The Campbell County School District has waited a long time for the chance to build a new elementary school.
"I think it's been on the construction list since I've been on the board, and that's been 14 years," said school board Chairman Chuck Eifert. "It was there, but we never had the money. Now we do, through bonds."
Final approval for the $11 million project - which includes a 73,000-square-foot, 750-seat building serving preschool through fifth grade - is expected next month from the Kentucky Department of Education.
The district is also negotiating to buy land for the site, about 15 to 20 acres in Alexandria near the AA Highway and Grandview Road.
If all goes as planned, construction could begin as early as January, and the school could open in 2005.
The new school will consolidate students from A.J. Jolly and Alexandria elementary schools. Some students from John W. Reiley Elementary School also might be transferred.
"We started talking about it around the first of this year when we were looking at funding and budget concerns," said district spokeswoman Melissa Pryor. "The age of the buildings was also a big reason."
A.J. Jolly was built in the 1920s and has 130 students. Alexandria was built around 1960 and has 500 students.
The school board considered closing A.J. Jolly before the start of this school year because of budget constraints and its flood-plain location, but voted in February to keep it open until a new school could be built.
The new school will be a single-story, all-brick building with two wings. One side will feature 28 classrooms, art and music rooms, seven resource rooms, administrative offices and a library. The other will have a cafeteria and gym. An interior courtyard will separate the two wings.
"It will be built so that the facility can be used on weekends and nights as a community center without having to open up the classrooms," said project designer Robert Hayes of Robert Ehmet Hayes & Associates.
The Fort Mitchell firm has designed numerous Northern Kentucky schools, including Ryle and Scott high schools and North Pointe, Erpenbeck and Hinsdale elementary schools.
Hayes said he expects final plans to be approved by the state department in November and hopes to bid the project before year's end.
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