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Apopka will be getting a new K-8 relief school sooner than planned

A conceptual site plan for a proposed K-8 school in Apopka.
A conceptual site plan for a proposed K-8 school in Apopka. (OCPS)

Orange County Public Schools has entered the permitting phase for a new K-8 school in the northwest Orange County.

The school, which will relieve Wolf Lake Elementary School and Wolf Lake Middle School, is located in Apopka at 4700 Jason Dwelley Parkway.

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Plans call for a roughly 150,000-square-foot school facility that will include a gymnasium/community center, multiple playing fields and play-area courtyards for younger students.

OCPS recently submitted plans in the St. Johns River Water Management District seeking environmental permits to allow for the construction of the new development.

Relief schools are still underway in Orange County despite some workshops being postponed due to coronavirus pandemic.

The 15-acre future school site was purchased by OCPS in 2018 for about $1.5 million.

Plans for the school once sat outside the school board’s current 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which helps determine upcoming operational budgets as well as the need, location and timing of new schools.

But fast growing areas in Orange County have led school board members to prioritize building relief schools in cities like Apopka or the Horizon West area. District 7, which includes areas in Ocoee and Apopka, is the only district in Orange County that does not have a K-8 school.

The new proposed school is slated to open in 2022. An access point will be located off of Spinfisher Drive, along Jason Dwelley Parkway. The site will have about 150 parking spots and space to accommodate 13 school buses.

The land will be zoned to hold about 1,200 students (400 middle school students and 800 elementary students) across about 50 classrooms. The school facility consists of multiple connected buildings with the tallest reaching three-stories in height.

Proposed features include interactive screens in classrooms and the media room. two art labs, three music rooms, computer skills lab, science skills labs and eight collaborative project learning areas. School buildings will be designed to meet the Green Globe certification criteria.

The school district is banking one of the sites for future growth. The other will have a new school opening in the fall of 2020.

Klima Weeks is the civil engineer. Zyscovich Architects is the architect and Wharton-Smith will serve as the construction manager.

The development site is near the Kelly Park Road interchange — one of four interchanges opening in part of the $1.6 billion, 25-mile Wekiva Parkway project that will complete the beltway around northwest metropolitan Orlando.

The expressway was designed to provide an alternative to I-4, and relieve U.S. 441, S.R. 46 and other area roads of traffic congestion.

Nearby, OCPS also owns about 160 acres along Round Lake Road where it plans to build a new highschool, though no plans are in place for the immediate future. Wekiva High School has not yet reached capacity.

Other relief schools in the works in Orange County, include a planned elementary school in Lake Nona and a middle school in Horizon West’s Village H. The school board is also in the process of building new high schools in Horizon West’s Village F and Orlando’s Dr. Phillips neighborhood.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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