One day after a construction manager told the Christian County School Board that it could be six months before new bids could be accepted for the new Hopkinsville-Christian County Academy, school officials announced the “farewell year” for Christian County High and Hopkinsville High will now be in 2023-24 with the new school to begin extracurricular activities in the 2024-25 school year.
Superintendent Chris Bentzel said he made the decision to postpone the farewell year until construction of the new high school begins. The original plan was for a groundbreaking to be held in July or August. The school board purchased 86 acres of land on Fort Campbell Boulevard at Lovers Lane last November for the new school which at the time was estimated to be built for $115 million.
However, construction bids for the new school and athletic venues on the campus came back at $199-$203 million in July. The school board later agreed to hire Alliance Contracting of Glasgow to oversee the project. Alliance Vice President Tim Geegan told the school board Thursday night that they will need to re-examine the scope of the project and present a new estimate to the board. He said that could take six months.
When consolidating the schools was approved by the board in August 2021, it was discussed that athletic teams and extracurricular activities would be combined in the 2022-23 school year with the new school and athletic facilities to be ready in 2024.
Bentzel says the plan now is to have a “farewell year” during the 2023-24 school year with the consolidation of athletics and extracurricular activities to begin in the 24-25 school year. Original plans for the school had new facilities for baseball, softball, soccer, band, and track and field on the new campus. The Stadium of Champions would still host the football team for the new school and the Rick Cohn Aquatic Center at Hopkinsville High School would be used for the swim team.
There were some questions concerning the farewell year when plans involving alumni soccer games were changed. There had also been no public announcements from the school district about farewell games involving fall sports teams.
Bentzel said the consolidated school is still the “right vision for the district.” The school board vote was 3 to 2 in favor of combining the schools and has been met with some opposition in the community who have questioned the decision to combine the two high schools and the school district’s perceived inability to properly maintain Christian County High and Hopkinsville High, both of which are over 50 years old.
Combining Christian County High and Hopkinsville High would make the new school one of the five largest high schools in the state in terms of enrollment.