When Will Dunbar Be Renovated?

Now that the Board of Education has voted to increase taxes to fund school projects, when can Dunbar expect renovations?

On Sept. 8 the Fayette County Board of Education voted to increase property tax rates for the 2022-2023 fiscal year for renovations and new construction.

The public was given notice that two options were being considered by the Board of Education: Option #1 would save the owner of a $100,000 home $23. Option #2 would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $25. Option 2, which can cover 12 projects and give the board $540 million available to borrow for construction and renovation projects, was selected after the board heard public comments during the Sept. 8 meeting.

According to the School Board Summary from Superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins, the district’s current list of building needs tops $1 billion.

PLD was built in 1990, and since then, the building has not received any significant renovations although there have been some smaller projects. Most recently, a small double-entry vestibule was built to secure the front entrance of the building.

According to the current District Facility Plan (DFP), the major renovations planned for Dunbar include the replacement of security systems, site lighting, all interior and exterior lighting throughout the building, and emergency exit lighting. The replacement of the generator, fire alarm system, intercom, and clock systems. The replacement of unit heaters, the ventilation system, the HVAC, boiler piping, plumbing fixtures, and kitchen equipment. The replacement of the exterior window system, flooring and ceilings throughout the building, and the roofing.

Repairs include the dumpster area, sidewalks, walkways, asphalt throughout the site, casework, fittings, and lockers, and new construction includes the addition of 12 classrooms, one special education classroom,  four resource rooms, two computer labs, and a science lecture lab.

The estimated cost is listed as $42,711,763.

Some of these priorities are the same listed in a PLD Lamplighter report published in 2018 investigating renovations planned for Dunbar. Some of the priorities are different.

In the 2017 DFP, the cost of Dunbar renovations was listed as approximately $19,413,251 and included new construction on 12 new classrooms, a media center expansion, a cafeteria expansion, and a kitchen expansion. A new HVAC system and a new roof were listed as $14,104,711 in the budget. None of those renovations have been completed as of 2022.

The planned media center expansion and cafeteria expansion on the 2017 DFP are no longer listed on the 2021 DFP.

The District Facilities Plan is reevaluated and updated every four years by a committee that includes community members, parents, teachers, principals, district staff, and board representation. Projects are categorized by new construction to open new schools, new construction to replace existing schools, and major renovations.

The order that projects are completed is at the discretion of the school board. The current facilities plan lists Dunbar as the first renovation project, but no timeline has been released.

A Dunbar parent, Alfred Haase, who spoke at the meeting in favor of raising property taxes to support school renovations and updates, discussed Dunbar specifically.

“Dunbar had a water leak in the theater which shorted and continued to short out the lights in that room,” he said.

Students and staff also complain about pests including ants, crickets, and even mice.

Following the meeting, Board of Education Chair Tyler Murphy said he would like to see the establishment of a task force of students, families, employees, and community members to evaluate the projects on the facilities plan, recommend a priority order to the board, and oversee the utilization of the building funds.


Staff members Ethan Woodward and Ian Delcher contributed to the research for this article.