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OCPS is moving full steam ahead to build relief schools on time

A rendering of the relief high school (113-H-W-4) under construction at 10393 Seidel Road.
A rendering of the relief high school (113-H-W-4) under construction at 10393 Seidel Road. (Orange County Public Schools)

Orange County Public Schools does not intend to slow down in its effort to help relieve overcrowded schools in its jurisdiction.

District spokeswoman Lauren Roth told GrowthSpotter planned relief schools are not being postponed despite four workshops regarding the relief schools being suspended for an unspecified period of time.

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“Currently, we are not forecasting any delays in completion of design, construction starts, or school openings,” she said. “Some school board workshops have been rescheduled, but this isn’t affecting our timelines.”

Those schools include a planned elementary school in Lake Nona and a middle school in Horizon West’s Village H. The remaining two are high schools currently under construction in Horizon West’s Village F and Orlando’s Dr. Phillips neighborhood.

New housing development in Orange County could be delayed indefinitely unless state and local leaders work out a solution.

The planned Lake Nona elementary school (43-E-SE-2) sits on about 18 acres of land at at 12253 Lake Nona Gateway Rd. and will relieve Eagle Creek Elementary School and Laureate Park Elementary School. The county purchased the site in 2018 for $5.4 million.

In Horizon West’s Village H, OCPS is planning a middle school (65-M-W-4) on about 25 acres of land currently owned by D.R. Horton. If completed, the school would relieve Bridgewater Middle School at 5600 Tiny Rd.

Under construction in Horizon West is relief high school at 10393 Seidel Road. The 63-acre school site (113-H-W-4) was assembled by OCPS between 2007 and 2019 for about $1.24 million. The project cost is estimated at about $117 million.

The high school will be able to accommodate up to 2,776 students and will relieve West Orange and Windermere high schools. The project is scheduled to be complete by May 2021.

Between 2016 and 2017, OCPS assembled nearly 50 acres of land from developer Daryl Carter for a total of $25 million to accommodate a new relief high school (80-H-SW-4) at 8300 Fenton St.

The planned $115 million project will relieve Dr. Phillips and Freedom high schools and is scheduled to be completed by April 2022. Capacity is also at 2,776.

See how a dispute over school portables in Horizon West is panning out to be a cumbersome moment for developers.

As of April 2020, there are 224,262 students enrolled in the county.

During the 2018-19 school year, OCPS was the ninth largest school district in the United States and the fourth largest in Florida, behind Miami, Broward and Hillsborough counties.

Orange County has struggled with keep up with the pace of development in fast-growing areas like Horizon West, where a slew of new rooftops are under construction.

Lee Steinhauer, who serves as government & legal affairs director for the Greater Orlando Builders Association, said relief schools helps spur development.

“No one likes to see an overcrowded school,” he said. “You can’t have a new development in the area until there is a relief school…. And people don’t want to move to an area with overcrowded schools.”

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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