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JCPS looks to construct three new schools in $114 million proposal


Grace James Academy. | Photo by the LOUtoday

Jefferson County Public Schools looks to fulfill a $1.1 billion facilities need with the construction of three new schools — the Grace James Academy of Excellence, the W.E.B. DuBois Academy + a new middle school in West Louisville.

It’s part of a proposal that would cost $114.2 million + allow West Louisville students to choose schools closer to home and decrease overcrowding in existing ones. If the plan is approved, construction could begin within the next four years.

JCPS, which is home to about 96,000 studentsroughly one in seven Kentuckians — looks to spend $39.9 million each on the new Grace James + W.E.B. DuBois schools which will hold 1,050 students each in grades six through 12.

Here are some quick facts about the three schools:

Grace James Academy of Excellence:

  • The Academy was established in 2020 + currently occupies the former Roosevelt-Perry Elementary school near the West Louisville YMCA at 1615 W. Broadway.
  • It’s an all-girls magnet middle school named after Dr. Grace Marilynn James, a local pediatrician who became the first African American physician at both the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Louisville Children’s Hospital.
  • Its students are called the Grace James G.E.M.S. — girls excelling in math and science — a nod to the school’s Afrocentric, STEAM education-focused curriculum.

W.E.B. DuBois Academy:

  • The school was established in 2018 at 3307 E. Indian Trail in the former Liberty High School building.
  • It’s an all-boys magnet middle school where each student receives a Chrome Book or iPad — making its student to technology ratio 1:1.
  • Once the Academy moves into its new facility, its current building could become a new magnet school called Minor Daniels Middle School.

Proposed new middle school:

  • The district looks to spend $34.3 million to construct the new, 1,000-student middle school in West Louisville.
  • A new high school is also possible for West Louisville, though the middle school development is currently taking precedence at this time.