JEFFERSONVILLE — A new downtown Jeffersonville elementary school scheduled to open to students for the 2020-2021 school year is taking shape.

Franklin Square Elementary School on Court Avenue is slated to be "substantially complete" by April 7 and ready for students by July. The new $11.5 million school — a hybrid of new construction, a renovated part of the old Jeffersonville High School building with the adjoining Nachand Fieldhouse as its gymnasium — has undergone a major transformation in the past few months. It will house students currently at Maple and Spring Hill elementary schools.

"I haven't heard anything but positives," said Chad Schenck, projects and safety supervisor for Greater Clark County Schools. "A couple of our board members live close by; one of our middle school principals is right down the street. They've reported hearing a lot of positive feedback and buzz around the community."

In February, demolition began at the site — the razing of the building which held the Jeff High science classrooms before the school moved to Allison Lane in the 1970s. The next very visible change was the gutting of classrooms and the old high school gymnasium to make room for all the amenities the new school will have.

On Thursday, steel studs were in place on the first floor of the former gymnasium — which will now house the preschool, Kindergarten and first-grade classrooms, as well as a teacher's lounge. The first-grade classrooms overlook a 13,700 square foot playground and basketball court; there will also be an outdoor stage.

Closer to Court Avenue, the second- through fifth-grade classrooms are being readied. In this building, students will be able to slide from the art area down to the new construction that will hold the school offices, special education classrooms, the kitchen and the 2,880 square foot cafeteria, which will also have a stage.

Also on Thursday, paving was finished in the parking lot between the new school and Corden Porter on Meigs Avenue. Schenck said that roof decking and the placement of split faced blocks are next in the phase of the construction along Court Avenue.

He said CORE Construction, the project lead, has done well to organize the work of all the different subcontractors with different trades working at the scene at the same time.

"I'm thrilled," Schenck said. "I think CORE has done a fantastic job. Their process is [to keep] all of the subcontractors phased in such a way that everyone is as happy as can be.

"Safety has gone very well; that's one of CORE's stronger points, making sure all contractors are vetted fully and go through the safety protocol."

Greater Clark board vice president Janelle Fitzpatrick was able to see the progress every day this summer while teaching a class nearby. She said she's pleased with the progress and has heard the same from community members.

"Everything is on schedule from everything we've heard," she said, adding that CORE has been right on top of things when they needed to be taken care of. "I'm really happy with the way it's going."

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.