Lake Nona's growth leaves school system scrambling

Karen Talley
GrowthSpotter

Lake Nona is growing at such a rapid clip, the Orange County school system is having a hard time keeping up, and that’s going to mean scores of construction jobs.

Just four years after its first middle school opened, Lake Nona is getting another one.

And there are now plans to build an elementary school, to supplement the one that opened just a few of weeks ago.

“The Lake Nona area, as well as Horizon West, are the two fastest growing areas in Orange County,” as counted by students, said Lauren Roth, senior manager of facilities communications for Orange County Public Schools.

Indeed, thousands of people have moved into the Lake Nona area over the last few years, drawn by its emphasis on medicine and related fields that take high skill and have commensurate high pay.

Construction of the new middle school will begin Jan. 14 with Wharton-Smith the general contractor and subcontractor bids due Nov. 17.

The 175,332-square-foot structure, to be built on 26 acres on Innovation Way South, east of SR 417 and north of Moss Park Road, is budgeted for $36.8 million.

It will accommodate 1,348 students, relieving pressure being felt by the existing Lake Nona middle school, at 13700 Narcoossee Rd., which was built for 1,235 students grades 6 through 8, and has 1,816 attendees.

The situation is even more acute for the area’s elementary school students. The school system opened Eagle Creek Elementary School this fall, prepared for a maximum of 786 students. Enrollment is 962.

To help ease the burden the school system plans an elementary school, tentatively at 8039 Laureate Blvd., near the new VA hospital and the UCF College of Medicine. The 88,800-square-foot facility will accommodate 830 students on 12 acres.

Budgeted at $18.7 million, construction is planned to start in July 2016 and end May 2017.

A general contractor has not yet been chosen.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at ktalley@growthspotter.com or (407) 420-5176. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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