Breaking News
More () »

Teachers look forward to teaching in new JCPS building; 'You kind of dream up your perfect school and here we are'

The new Indian Trail Elementary was built directly behind the old school, which has been torn down.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just two days before the start of the school year, Jefferson County Public School officials cut the ribbon on a brand new school in the Newburg neighborhood.

The new Indian Trail Elementary is a $16.5 million, 82,000 square foot facility. It sits directly behind the former building, which was decades old. 

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said the project was first approved in 2019. It's the first to open out of four new JCPS schools that have been under construction. 

Those include the new Wilkerson Elementary, which JCPS officials recently said didn't pass a building inspection and wouldn't be open for the start of the 2023-24 school year. 

At Indian Trail, students will be able to begin class on Wednesday for the first day of school. 

The new building includes features like a courtyard for outdoor classes, wide corridors, a gym and Media Center, flexible "maker spaces" and geothermal heating and cooling. 

Pollio said the project is part of an ongoing effort to address aging facilities in JCPS. 

“Our high schools, 1968 was the last one built," he said. "It really makes me embarrassed that we haven’t done better, it makes me proud we’re addressing it but we have a long way to go.”

Pollio said the district has about 34 buildings that have reached the end of their lives. He said he has more construction plans to propose to the school board in the next few months. 

“It’s a matter of getting out of that hole and attacking the ones we’ve got to get to first," he said. “The kids who have the least resources in their homes should have the most resources in their schools.”

For teachers at Indian Trail, the new building is a pathway to greater student success. 

“Having a space that we can cater the needs of all of our kids that’s what is extremely exciting," third grade teacher Allison Shockley said. “You kind of dream up your perfect school and here we are.”

RELATED: First day of school for JCPS students is soon, here's what to know

Shockley is a fourth generation teacher, and said no one in her family has worked at a brand new building. 

She said she's looking forward to a classroom with natural light, new desks and fewer distractions. 

“It’s saying to them you’re worthy you get to come to an environment and learn and be successful and we’ve got your back," she said. 

First grade teacher Jordan Saunders has been at Indian Trail for three years, since graduating college. 

She never imagined teaching in a classroom like the one she's been busy preparing. 

“I said when I walked into the old building 'this looked like when I went to kindergarten into 2000,' so this, it was like walking into the future," Saunders said. 

RELATED: 'I'm proud'; 2 JCPS schools welcome sixth graders with coat, lab ceremonies

Pollio said improved facilities help better student outcomes, increase investment in schools and could help encourage teachers and students to come to Indian Trail. 

“Yes, I want to increase our market share, but I want to make sure the kids we have, the kids who need it the most have buildings like this," he said. 

Students will also have a new playground, which is still under construction. 

JCPS officials have said the new Wilkerson Elementary should be able to open in a matter of weeks.  

For the time being, JCPS plans to reopen Watson Lane Elementary, which closed last school year, as a temporary space for learning.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Before You Leave, Check This Out