New Construction

Failed Inspection Delays Opening of New Elementary School

The grand opening of a new elementary school for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Ky., has been postponed after the facility failed to pass a Louisville Metro government inspection last week, according to a district press release. Failing the inspection means that the facility will not be granted a Certificate of Occupancy in time for the district’s first day of school on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Students and staff of the new Wilkerson Elementary School will instead return to Watson Lane Elementary, which closed at the end of last school year, until construction at Wilkerson is complete.

“This is extremely disappointing,” said JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. “The contractor assured us that the building would be completed on time. I apologize to the Wilkerson families for this unacceptable pause in their excitement about moving into a new building.”

The project’s general contractor, Marrillia Design and Construction, communicated to JCPS last week that construction was scheduled for completion by the first day of classes, the news release reports. However, inspectors judged that construction still wasn’t far enough along to allow occupancy, citing issues like an unfinished roof.

Local news reports that Watson Lane Elementary closed at the end of the 2021–22 academic year and that its student and staff population was set to funnel into the new school. The district is in the process of reopening the facility and reworking bus routes to serve all students.

“While I’m disheartened we won’t be opening our school year in a new building, I can assure Wilkerson families that regardless of the structure we’re in, great teaching and learning will be going on inside,” said Wilkerson Principal Sara Alvey.

Wilkerson Elementary comes with a price tag of $17 million and will cover 82,352 square feet, according to the press release.

“The new Wilkerson elementary will be a beautiful, welcoming, high-tech learning environment for kids,” said Pollio. “I’m looking forward to cutting the ribbon in a few weeks on the first new school built in Southwest Jefferson County in 24 years.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].