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Osceola Schools eyeing site on Nova Road for future high school, bus depot

Osceola County's School District is under contract to buy 131 acres on Nova Road in St. Cloud for a bus depot and future high school.
Osceola County's School District is under contract to buy 131 acres on Nova Road in St. Cloud for a bus depot and future high school.(School District of Osceola County)

An area of St. Cloud that’s slated for thousands of new homes could also be getting a new high school.

The School District of Osceola County has a purchase contract for two parcels totaling 131 acres on Nova Road, just south of the mixed-use Center Lake Ranch community.

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School officials held a pre-application meeting with the county’s Development Review Committee on Wednesday to discuss access and transportation requirements for siting a high school and bus depot on the land. The property is in the city of St. Cloud, but Nova Road is a county framework street, so the county has some jurisdiction over project.

Get the details on the new St. Cloud community that's slated for nearly 4,000 homes.

Nakeisha Lyon, facilities planning specialist for the school district, said the district would be landbanking about half of the property because the high school isn’t funded in the district’s current 10-year work program. But the transportation facility is an immediately need to serve the eastern half the county. The district is also pursuing a site just off Poinciana Boulevard for a similar transportation facility to serve the western half of the county.

DRC Chairman Jose Gomez said the Nova Road bus depot would add significant traffic to the road, and the school district would be required to pay for improvements. Those could include right-turn lanes, a traffic signal at the main entrance and intersection improvements at U.S. 192. He also noted that the county would not allow the primary access for the high school to be off Nova Road. Rather, the main driveway entrance should be on a neighborhood street cutting through the adjacent property to the east, which was under contract to D.R. Horton.

The homebuilder says the county erred and ignored its own zoning requirements when commissioners denied the project.

Rhonda Blake, director of planning services for SDOC, said the district is under a time constraint for the Nova Road site and would need to reach a developer agreement with the county for the transportation improvements. “We would need to move into those conversations rather quickly,” she said, noting that the district needs to wrap up its due diligence in the next 30-60 days.

The property next door spans 92 acres. Osceola County Commissioners rejected D.R. Horton’s plan for a 320-home subdivision late last year, and the homebuilder never closed on the property. County planner Corrine Carpenter said even though the D.R. Horton plan was denied, the staff expects that property to be developed as a residential subdivision eventually, and the county has already identified a potential road alignment that could serve as the main entrance for the school.

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 FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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