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