A Jacksonville-based charter school developer has secured county approvals to open a K-8 charter school in a former Winn Dixie supermarket on U.S. 27 in south Lake County.
Taylor Smith, president of Project Finance & Development Inc., said the new Pinecrest Academy in Four Corners would serve up to 1,050 students from all four counties. The school site is about a half mile north of Cagan Crossings and one mile north of the U.S. 192 intersection.
Keith Severns, vice president of development for Liberty Universal Management, helped secure the 9.5-acre property and site plan approvals from the county. Lake County Schools awarded a charter beginning in Fall 2019.
Severns and Smith said that the project involves the complete conversion of the closed 49,000-square-foot Winn Dixie store into a new state-of-the-art charter school, as well as the redevelopment of a portion of the parking lot to provide parent drop-off and pick-up areas, recreational fields and playground areas. The school would feature the latest educational technology for students as well as high-tech security and safety features, they said.
Pinecrest officials are also working with Lake County School officials to avoid duplication of services between the charter school and a planned K-8 public school to serve the growing Four Corners area. The school district has a 35-acre site nearby and is designing a traditional campus to open as early as August 2021.
The development team has been active in charter school development in Central Florida. Smith's PF&D Inc. provided the financial backing for a new Mater Academy in St. Cloud, and Severns represented BridgePrep Academy on the land acquisition and permitting for its new Poinciana charter school.