The Fayette County Board of Education has signed off on naming Lexington’s sixth public high school after 19th-century abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass. The unanimous vote came during the board’s November action meeting.

FCPS received nearly 700 suggestions from the public, including 92 unique names that were considered. School board policy requires that the name reflects the geographic significance of the area, or an individual who contributed in a significant way on a local, state, or national level.

Alumni of the old Douglass School on Price Road in Lexington’s west end, which was segregated, were pleased with the naming committee’s selection, according to a statement from the board of education.

During its 42-year history, Douglass School was known for holding students to high academic standards, for its impressive library and active PTA, and for being among the first Fayette schools to offer free lunch.

“We do have active alumni, and that’s what sold me,” said board chairwoman Melissa Bacon. Board member Doug Barnett also voiced his support, adding, “An instant alumni base is huge at a new school.”

The $81.5 million new high school, at 2000 Winchester Road, is scheduled to open next fall with Lester Diaz as principal.

The property is on the east side of Winchester Road, between the Summerfield subdivision and Sir Barton Way in Hamburg. This is the newest construction in Fayette County Public Schools. Bryan Station High School’s building was replaced in 2007, and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School opened in 1990.

This article also appears on page 5 of the December 2016 printed edition of the Hamburg Journal. For more Hamburg area news, subscribe to the Hamburg Journal weekly digital newsletter.