Advance Learning Academy, a private school located in Maitland, is moving out of its crowded rental headquarters to a building purchased for remodeling by the school's founder and principal, Stacy Taylor.
Taylor bought about 4 acres along Lake of the Woods in Maitland for $1.6 million, according to a deed recorded last Thursday in Seminole County. The property lies at 140 Tonina Cove, east of U.S. 17-92 and south of Hudson Lane.
An existing, 8,324-square-foot building on the land will undergo extensive interior and exterior repairs and remodeling, Taylor told GrowthSpotter. The building was previously a therapy center and private school for children with special needs, she said.
Taylor obtained a construction loan of up to $2.688 million from Bank United N.A. of Miami Lakes. The loan is secured by a mortgage on the property, according to Seminole County records. Taylor declined to give an estimate on how much money she will invest in the property and school.
"We are remodeling the building so it will be able to hold more students and have more space, a dedicated art and science room, music room, library, a cafeteria, etc.," Taylor said via e-mail on Wednesday.
Taylor chose the location because she wanted to remain in the Maitland area, a central location for families with children at the school.
"We currently have families who come to us from all over Central Florida, from Sanford to Windermere, and even out east in the Waterford Lakes area," she said. "Families come to us because they want an innovative, 21st century education for their child, a smaller class size and a focus on teaching, not just testing."
The school, which serves pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, now has about 45 students at its current address, 613 Concourse Parkway. With larger classrooms at the Lake of the Woods site, enrollment can grow to about 75 kids, she said.
The interior renovation will include reconfiguring existing classrooms to make larger ones, said Mark Zaremskas, managing partner at R.B. Marks. The reconfiguration will also create a cafeteria area and reception room, elements that weren't present in the previous school.
The school building will get new paint inside and out, and all the floors will be refinished, Zaremskas said. New LED lighting will be installed throughout.
"That will reduce the utility bill and bring a little green, save-the-planet kind of thing to the school," Zaremskas said Wednesday.
Taylor is also having a modular building installed on the property for her business, Advance Behavior and Learning, which provides therapy for children with developmental and behavioral learning challenges. The building and the services provided there will not be connected to the school, she said.
The land around the school building will also get a fresh look, Zaremskas said. A dirt road that loops around the property will be resurfaced with concrete.
Inside the loop, between the school and the lake, a sloped area will be leveled, re-sodded and fenced in to create an athletic playing field, Zaremskas said.
On the west side of the building, a fenced in, overgrown area will be cleaned up to make way for playground equipment. The playground itself will be covered with artificial turf, underlain with impact-reducing rubber.
The renovations should be finished in time for students to start classes in January, Taylor said.
The property seller was Kenkoy LLC, a privately held company headed by Antonia B. Llull, Carmen V. Llull, Jose R. Llull, Jose Antonio Bouffard and Fedelina N. Baraceros.