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Louisville leaders break ground on elementary school for girls in West End

Louisville officials, elected leader and West End School administration wearing hardhats and holding shovels at the ground breaking ceremony.
Giselle Rhoden
Kentucky state Sen. Gerald Neal, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg, and Brown-Forman CEO Lawson Whiting were among the people present at the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.

The West End School broke ground on a campus expansion that will add a school for girls by August 2025.

Community leaders and elected officials broke ground Wednesday on a new school for girls in the Chickasaw neighborhood.

The new institution is part of an $11.5 million expansion of the West End School, a tuition-free all-boys school for pre-K through eighth grade students. The school for boys opened in 2005 and offers summer programming and weekday boarding for students.

The West End Girls School is expected to enroll 150 students in pre-K through second grade, officials said. Each year, the school will expand by adding an additional grade up to eighth grade.

The model of the West End Girls School
Courtesy of West End School

“We have the possibility to change not only the trajectory of our students but [also] this community,” West End School President Greg Ross said. “So us being able to provide the same opportunity to the young ladies of this community is truly going to change Louisville.”

When it opens, Ross said the West End Girls School will not provide overnight boarding. It is unclear if boarding for girls will be added to the campus in the future.

The school is expected to open in August 2025. Applications for the 2025-2026 academic year are available online.

In 2023, Chickasaw neighbors raised concerns about construction and the proposed design of the expanded campus, which some said would not benefit the surrounding community, according to reporting from WDRB.

West End School co-founder Paul Perconti said Wednesday the school yard at the boys school will be closed for nine months during construction. The school will build a park across the street for its students to replace the green space, he said.

“We're going to get that done,” Perconti said. “But the way construction works and permits work, it's going to take us a while to get both things finished.”

District 1 Louisville Metro Council member Tammy Hawkins said she has not heard complaints from residents.

“I work hard for the people that put me in this role,” Hawkins said Wednesday. “Way too often when you sit too long, you're not as effective. My community holds me accountable.”

Hawkins said the girls school will give more opportunities to west Louisville communities that often face disinvestment.

“It's not often people take a risk in neighborhoods that have been underserved and overlooked for generations,” she said. “Giving young girls an equal opportunity to excel is heartwarming and extremely necessary for our community.”

The West End School, in partnership with Brown-Forman, also launched a bourbon raffle with a collection of 22 high-end bourbons totaling more than $220,000 in value. Raffle tickets are available to purchase online. The winner will be announced in a live drawing June 20.

Officials said all the proceeds from the raffle will go toward the girls school.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.

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