Community History – Covington – John G. Carlisle School

Community History - Covington - John G. Carlisle

John G. Carlisle School began as a junior high school. When the new Holmes High School was opened on the Homesdale property, the old Covington High School building (built in 1872) at the corner of 12th and Russell was vacant. In 1919, the members of the school board voted to renovate the building for use as a junior high school, which opened in 1921. The name given to the new junior high was John G. Carlisle. Carlisle was a Covington native and politician. Carlisle held the positions of United States Senator, Kentucky Lieutenant Governor, and United States Secretary of the Treasury.

The location of the school, however, was not a good one. The site was very close to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad tracks. Being so close to the railroad made walking to the school dangerous. In addition, the railroad activity caused a great deal of noise, which disrupted classroom work. As early as 1921, calls were being made to abandon the site.

The pupils and teachers would have to wait until 1937, when funding from the Works Progress Administration was provided, before a new building could be constructed. At this same time, the Second District School on Robbins Street was also in a dilapidated condition. The members of the school board decided to build a new school on the site of Second District to house both the elementary program (of Second District) and the junior high program (of John G. Carlisle). When the new building was dedicated, the name was officially changed from Second District to John G. Carlisle School.

In 1992, Covington School Board members began seriously studying the future use of John G. Carlisle School. Several members supported a major renovation of the facility, others wanted to build a completely new structure. In the end, the decision was made to demolish the old building and to construct a new one. In March 1994, the plans for a new school were accepted by the board. The architectural firm of Burgess & Nipple Ltd. designed the new building. Plans called for a two-story brick school. The first floor would house the primary grades and the second floor would house the fourth, fifth and sixth grades. Other facilities would include an automated library, a science lab and a computer lab. Several large decorative stone features from the old building would be incorporated into the new structure. Estimated cost of the project was $6.3 million.
Ground was broken in September 1993. The site chosen for the new building was adjacent to the 1937 school. By August 1994, the new structure was nearly completed. At this time, the old school was demolished to make way for a parking lot and playground. In October 1994, the new John G. Carlisle School was officially dedicated.

Kentucky Post, May 17, 1919, p. 2, August 16, 1921, p. 1, September 5, 1921, p. 1, September 2, 1992, p. 1k, March 12, 1993, p. 9a, September 11, 193, p. 1k, August 10, 1994, p. 2kk and October 28, 1994, p. 8k.

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