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Orlando Science School plans downtown expansion via office bldg purchase

Orlando Science School plans downtown expansion via office bldg purchase
Highlighted in blue are four parcels on Technology Drive that Orlando Science Schools has in play for future expansion of its K-12 school in Downtown Orlando. The westernmost parcel is home to the current K-5 school, to the right is an office building set for purchase and renovation, and the two easternmost parcels are undeveloped, totaling 11 acres. (Orange County Property Appraiser)

Orlando Science Schools, a local charter with three campuses, plans to acquire and convert an office building that neighbors its Downtown Orlando campus in order to double enrollment, and will seek civil engineer and architect bids in the coming months, its executive director told GrowthSpotter.

The focal property neighbors the K-5 school at West Orlando at 2611 Technology Dr., which lies just northeast of the W. Colonial Drive-N. John Young Parkway intersection. The school's 6-12 building lies a few miles north on Lynx Lane.

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The elementary school currently operates out of a 30,293-square-foot building. The school would acquire and thoroughly renovate the two-story, 28,659-square-foot building next door at 2601 Technology Dr., currently owned and occupied by law firm Bogin, Munns & Munns, P.A.

A spokesman with the law firm declined to comment on Friday regarding the potential sale.

With 484 students enrolled now and a waiting list more than double that, the expansion could add space for up to 450 more students, said Yalcin Akin, executive director.

The company has filed for a conditional use permit amendment with the City of Orlando to expand its existing K-12 charter school onto adjacent property, with plans to convert an existing office building for school use, build an outdoor play area and extend a driveway. The proposal will be heard June 21 by the Municipal Planning Board.

"With our growing waiting list and the parents who've asked us to grow, we believe this is a great opportunity at this time to expand," Akin told GrowthSpotter.

"The new building would offer classroom and administrative office space. The city CUP approval process should conclude some time in July, and we hope to start renovations in December or early January," he continued. "No estimates have been provided yet for cost of the work. We should make choices in the coming six months for (civil engineer and architect)."

Acquiring that office parcel would open up an adjacent 11.4 acres of undeveloped land directly east the school also owns, allowing for future expansion and a second entrance via N. Texas Avenue.

Orlando Science Schools offer a STEM-focused curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The school opened its first Seminole County branch last August in Lake Mary, and is subleasing a property in Kissimmee to open its fourth campus this coming August.

Charter schools are publicly funded and privately managed, after being approved by local school boards. Students from throughout a given county can apply to attend.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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