City schools begin facilities planning process, public forums planned

Members of the Bowling Green Independent School District Local Planning Committee elected officers Thursday evening during the group’s orientation meeting.

Teachers, parents and school district staff gathered Thursday to take the first step toward developing a new district facilities plan for the Bowling Green Independent School District, which prioritizes facility needs for state funding.

Although the group of about 20 members just held its first meeting, it already knows its top priority.

“A big part of this plan that’s coming up will obviously include the completion of phase two of Bowling Green High School,” BGISD Superintendent Gary Fields said.

During its orientation meeting, the district’s Local Planning Committee reviewed a training video and discussed the process for developing a district facilities plan. That process involves holding three public forums before submitting a final plan for state review by mid-August.

The committee elected Rickey Shive, the district’s facilities manager, as its chair and Cedric Browning, an assistant principal at Bowling Green High School, as vice chair.

The first public forum is scheduled for June 27 and must be advertised publicly seven days in advance.

In 2017, the district altered its four-year facility plan to include extensive renovations at BGHS. The first phase of construction includes a large classroom wing built around the existing high school, with a total project budget of about $22.5 million.

With the first phase of renovations well underway and progressing, Fields called the second phase of renovations the district’s “No. 1 focus.”

Phase two renovations will include the demolition of the existing building with the exception of the school’s basketball arena. It will include a two-story commons area, library, an auxiliary gym and some specialty classrooms, among other spaces.

The district wants to also include a replacement for its current natatorium, which will be converted into a courtyard. However, that might be a challenge, Fields said, given that the state views a swimming pool as an athletic facility, meaning it faces funding restrictions. Fields said a swimming pool has existed at the school for 50 years and that the wider community would like it to stay there.

Other than the high school renovations, the process also allows the school district to plan for other improvements, such as HVAC upgrades and roof replacements.

Bowling Green Junior High School’s roof, for example, is approaching 20 years old, Fields said.

The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday.

“This is an important process that kind of sets the tone for how we move forward,” Fields said of process and its influence on facility needs.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

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Education reporter. Covers education and related issues, focusing primarily on the Bowling Green and Warren County public school districts and Western Kentucky University.

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