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Board accepts Thomas Nelson Community Campus bids

NCS Board accepts construction bids for Thomas Nelson Community Campus

The Nelson County Board of Education on Tuesday took significant steps toward expanding equity and opportunity for all Nelson County students. 

The board accepted the bid proposals for the expansion of the Thomas Nelson High School facility to add a middle school wing. That expansion, with a bid package of $24.6 million, will expand opportunities for middle school students across Nelson County. Learn more about the Thomas Nelson and Nelson County Community Campus designs at nccommunitycampus.com. 

Superintendent Wes Bradley welcomed Tuesday night’s progress and said this process has focused the district on how to improve the educational opportunities for all students in the district.

“The board has engaged in a lengthy discussion over the past 20 months about how to provide the best education for our students. These conversations continued last evening amongst healthy debate. We are proud that our board team continues to show courage in considering what the future demands of our schools and ways we can best support our students and staff.”

The board also approved plans for the modernization of New Haven School, at an estimated cost of $13.4 million, as it transitions to a preschool to fifth grade school.

The vote made possible: 

  • The construction of a middle school wing on the current Thomas Nelson campus. Middle school students could attend the new campus as early as the 2024-25 school year.
  • The vision of the local planning committee (LPC) for Thomas Nelson Community Campus; and Boston and New Haven transitioning from P-8 to P-5. 

Explaining the vote

The TNHS project was rejected before it was approved. Here’s how it happened:

  • The board initially rejected the bid package for the TNHS expansion by a 3-2 vote, with Board Chair Diane Berry, Amanda Deaton and David Norman voting against the project.
  • Discussion proceeded to the next agenda item, approval of the plans for New Haven School’s modernization. Those plans were based on a P-5 model, though, made possible through the community campus model.
  • Chairman Berry then called for reconsideration of the TNHS bid package. The board voted again, and accepted the TNHS bid package by a vote of 3-2.

Financing community campus, modernizations 

The community campus and New Haven projects will be financed through the district’s building fund, which is money set aside for facilities and generated through the county’s three “nickel taxes” enacted in 1994, 2001 and 2005. The fund is generated by the first 15 cents of property tax on every $100 of assessed value, and can only be used for facility expenses. Current projections show that NCS will generate between $160 million and $270 million in facility funding over the next 20 years as a part of the legislatively controlled facility nickel taxes. 

Tuesday’s board actions were aligned with the Nelson County Schools’ District Facility Plan, which was amended and approved by the district’s LPC in December 2021. That DFP envisions a community campus model that would unite the county’s four middle schools into two unified campuses at Nelson County High School and Thomas Nelson High School. The DFP also includes significant modernization and renovations at New Haven School, Cox’s Creek Elementary and the UP Center. 

Learn More

To learn more about the Community Campus vision at Nelson County Schools, go to https://www.nelson.kyschools.us/next/community-campus

To learn more about the Thomas Nelson Community Campus specifically, check out this page on our website.

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