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Avant Garde Academy planning charter school expansion in Poinciana

Avant Garde Academy planning charter school expansion in Poinciana
The Avant Garde Academy charter school (outlined in red) is looking to add a Pre-K and middle school building on 9.6 acres across the street. (Osceola County Property Appraiser)

Avant Garde Academy is planning a two-phase expansion of its Poinciana campus, in hopes of opening a new voluntary pre-K building in time for the 2017 school year.

The K-8 charter school currently occupies 30 acres at 3651 Pleasant Hill Road, near the Bellalago subdivision. Now it's looking to expand onto a 9.6-acre tract right across the street.

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Architect Nick Murdock and engineer Craig Zetwo with Hanson Walter told Osceola County planners they were hoping to fast-track the permitting to open a 16,000-square-foot voluntary pre-Kindergarten building by August. It would serve 160 students.

This site plan shows the phasing plan for the charter school expansion at 3550 Pleasant Hill Road.
This site plan shows the phasing plan for the charter school expansion at 3550 Pleasant Hill Road. (Osceola County)

The second phase would include a two-story, 40,000-square-foot building to accommodate students in grades 6-8, as well as a third 15,000-square-foot building and a multipurpose sports field. The middle school would serve 550 students, and when it opens, the existing school would be converted to a K-5 facility.

"We don't have that scheduled yet," Murdock said.

The property was sold in January for $1 million to a South Florida group, who told GrowthSpotter they wanted to build a $20 million community center there.

Zetwel said AGA is taking over the project. The charter school's board of directors approved the Poinciana expansion in June.

But county planners worried that expanding the school would simply add to the traffic bottleneck on Pleasant Hill at the existing facility. Traffic engineer Tina Burdett said the school would have to do a traffic analysis because of ongoing issues with parents parking on Pleasant Hill Road during dropoff and pickup times.

"You're talking about adding 650 students for the whole campus and no bus service for the school," she said.

Development Review Director Mahmoud Najda said he wanted to be personally involved in the review of the project. "Be prepared for us to request deceleration lanes, through lanes and a traffic signal," he said.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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