Default alt text

Integrate School Sites with Neighborhood

Ensure school sites are designed to integrate well into the surrounding neighborhood.

Theme A (Growing Successful Neighborhoods) highlights the large role that design plays in successful neighborhoods, whether it be on a large or a small scale, and Lexington’s schools are no exception. The design and integration of schools into the surrounding neighborhood is as important to the desirability of an area as is the design, layout and architecture of the streets and residences.

The school property itself, as well as its location within and its relationship to the surrounding neighborhood, is crucial and should be accessible, visually as well as physically. Elementary and middle schools should locate in residential neighborhoods on local streets with provisions for safe pedestrian and bicycle accessibility. This will minimize walking distances and reduce traffic congestion in these areas. High schools and small higher education campuses, which produce a higher volume of school-generated traffic, should locate along collector streets. Schools with frontage along single-loaded streets, whether local or collector, are strongly encouraged, as they provide better public access, improved visibility, and a means for buffering adjacent residential properties. The site design of each school should facilitate all modes of transport to and from the school property and should include sidewalks, shared-use paths, and roadways that can accommodate the bus and vehicle traffic associated with the site.

Site design for publicly owned properties, whether they be government properties, utilities or public schools, require a Public Facility Review to determine compliance with the Comprehensive Plan. Typically, an applicant, such as Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS), Bluegrass Field (airport) or some other public entity, provides a site plan, along with a detailed description of the project, for the Planning staff to review as it relates to the current Comprehensive Plan’s goals and objectives, as well as text. At this stage in the process, the staff reacts to the general land use and the site design. FCPS and Planning staff always communicate during the Public Facility Review process; prior to that, however, input by the Planning staff into the site design would help to ensure compliance with the Comprehensive Plan on multiple levels – not just with regard to the use of the land as a public school. Imagine Lexington calls for building upon existing collaboration between FCPS and Planning, and engaging earlier in the process to continue to serve the needs of Lexington’s students, neighborhoods, and community.

Action Item(s)

  • Engage with Fayette County Public Schools in order to align priorities in site selection and design.

Goals and Objectives

GOAL A3: Provide well-designed neighborhoods and communities.

Objective: A3b

Strive for positive and safe social interactions in neighborhoods, including, but not limited to, neighborhoods that are connected for pedestrians and various modes of transportation.

GOAL A4: Address community facilities at a neighborhood scale.

Objective: A4a

Incorporate schools, libraries, and other community-focused educational institutions into neighborhoods in order to maximize safe routes for all pedestrians and bicyclists.

Objective: A4b

Plan for equitable and accessible social services and healthcare facilities that address the needs of all residents, maximizing the opportunity to reach geographically underserved areas throughout the community.

GOAL B2: Reduce Lexington-Fayette County’s carbon footprint.

Objective: B2d

Prioritize multi-modal options that de-emphasize single-occupancy vehicle dependence.

GOAL D1: Work to achieve an effective and comprehensive transportation system.

Objective: D1a

Support the Complete Streets concept, prioritizing a pedestrian-first design that also accommodates the needs of bicycle, transit and other vehicles.

Objective: D1b

Develop a viable network of accessible transportation alternatives for residents and commuters, which may include the use of mass transit, bicycles, walkways, ridesharing, greenways and other strategies.

GOAL D2: Support a model of development that focuses on people-first to provide accessible community facilities and services to meet the health, safety and quality of life needs of Lexington-Fayette County’s residents and visitors.

Objective: D2c

Collaborate with service providers about how their community facilities should enhance existing neighborhoods.