Construction Begins on New Community Supported Orlando School

ORLANDO, Fla. — Construction crews recently broke ground on a new first-of-its-kind pre-kindergarten-8 school for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) in the Parramore neighborhood of downtown Orlando. The project is the result of a collaboration with several community partners including the Rosen Foundation, University of Central Florida, Valencia College, the City of Orlando and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, and aims to address the needs of pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students on one campus.

Orlando-based Williams Company Building Division broke ground on the currently unnamed school, which was designed by Baker Barrios Architects of Orlando and HKS Architects, on April 26. The design phase kicked off in January 2015 and was completed in November 2015. The project’s total budget is $60.7 million. The school is slated for completion in summer 2017 and is set to open in fall 2017.

Prior to the ground breaking, the site was comprised of multiple vacant lots and shuttered industrial, residential and office structures. When complete, the campus will serve up to 1,211 students across nearly 13 acres and 190,526 square feet. The school will encompass a gymnasium, cafetorium, media center, outdoor play areas including a tot lot, hard courts, a running track and a multi-story parking structure. Also included will be a preschool facility, and on-site branch of the Boys and Girls Club and a medical clinic to serve both students and their families.

The school will provide a quality preschool program for two to three-year-old children funded the Rosen Foundation. The University of Central Florida (UCF) and Valencia College will also develop a teacher internship program for their education students in conjunction with the school.

In addition to the kindergarten through middle-school curriculum, the on-site Boys & Girls Club program for six- to 18-year-olds will provide students with after-school youth development programs. “This partnership with OCPS, the Hughes family, our donors, and the funding community will provide great futures for thousands of youth in the area who may never have had the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Gary Cain, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, in a statement. “Evidence clearly demonstrates that when children have a safe place like a Boys & Girls Club, their academics improve, they avoid risky behaviors, and they grow up to become productive and caring citizens. We’re excited about this partnership and look forward to this new club positively impacting young lives for years to come.”

Additionally, OCPS and the City of Orlando are discussing other services that could be provided to community members on-site after school hours. “We are grateful to the community for making this a reality,” said Dr. Barbara Jenkins, OCPS superintendent, in a statement. “From the voters who approved the half-cent sales tax to build this school, to the community philanthropists whose donations will provide valuable experiences on this campus, we are so lucky to live in a community that truly values and supports public education.”