Beechwood Middle, a new 1,200-student school in Lexington 1, is expected to open its doors in August. Who gets to attend the 196,000-square foot school is the next decision the school board must make.
Board members gave initial approval on Jan. 15 to proposed attendance lines that would rezone the areas around Lexington, Meadow Glen Middle and Pleasant Hill middle schools.
The recommended rezoning would move some students from the three other middle schools to Beechwood beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. From there, Beechwood and Pleasant Hill would feed into Lexington High School, and students from Meadow Glen Middle School and Lexington Middle School would feed into River Bluff High School.
After 2020, Rocky Creek, Lake Murray and a portion of New Providence elementary schools would feed into Beechwood.
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The district plans to allow rising eighth graders to elect to stay at their middle school as long as they have transportation to and from school. There will not be any new bus routes added to accommodate them, spokesperson Rachel Ham said. Students involved in immersion programs will also be offered the same chance to stay at their schools.
Beechwood was built on U.S. 378 to alleviate the rapidly growing student population of Lexington 1, particularly in the areas around the town of Lexington. The school district is also preparing to start on its $365 million building plan that voters OK’d in the November election. The plan calls for building five new schools and renovating dozens of others.
If no eighth graders choose to stay at their middle schools, Beechwood would have a projected student population of 900, Lexington Middle would have 728 students, Meadow Glen Middle 878 students and Pleasant Hill Middle would have 717 students.
The schools have much larger student populations currently: Lexington Middle has 998, Meadow Glen Middle has 1,040 and Pleasant Hill Middle has 1,205 students.
In a news release, the district said the proposed rezoning would help crowded schools and “efficiently use facilities, minimize the division of subdivisions, consider balance for student diversity, allow future student growth in permanent facilities, consider transportation patterns for safe and efficient student transportation, and utilize natural and major road boundaries where possible.”
There will be three informational sessions about the zoning proposals, during which the community can give feedback:
▪ Tuesday, Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. — Lexington Middle School theater
▪ Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 6:30 p.m. — Pleasant Hill Middle School theater
▪ Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. — Meadow Glen Middle School theater
The school board must approve the plan twice more for it to become effective. The next preliminary approval is scheduled for Feb. 19 and final approval on March 19. Public comments are allowed at all school board meetings.
Beechwood Middle School is located at 1340 U.S. 378 in Lexington.