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Osceola Schools pick site near Poinciana SunRail for new K-8 campus

The School District of Osceola County is under contract for a portion of this 110-acre parcel on S. Poinciana Boulevard.
The School District of Osceola County is under contract for a portion of this 110-acre parcel on S. Poinciana Boulevard. (Osceola County Property Appraiser)

With student enrollment projected to increase by 30% over the next decade, the School District of Osceola County has firmed up plans for its next K-8 school.

The Osceola School Board has approved a contract to buy 61 acres on S. Poinciana Boulevard for $7.1 million. The property is part of the Knightsbridge Planned Unit Development, a 246-acre assemblage owned by Hank and Pegah Sabeti that stretches from Old Tampa Highway to Poinciana Boulevard. The PUD has entitlements for 425 single-family homes designed around a 30-acre lake, 600 multifamily units and 26 acres of commercial development.

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The school site is directly across from Cypress Landings, a 502-home subdivision being developed by Pulte Homes and Hanover Family Builders. It’s a half-mile north of the Poinciana SunRail Station, and immediately north of the 82-acre site that was purchased by Osceola County in early 2020 to provide land for affordable housing.

The SDOC is seeking to change the future land use on the green portion from Mixed-Use to Institutional. The area marked in yellow would have Multi-Family Medium-Density Residential future land use.
The SDOC is seeking to change the future land use on the green portion from Mixed-Use to Institutional. The area marked in yellow would have Multi-Family Medium-Density Residential future land use. (School District of Osceola County)

School Spokesperson Dana Schafer told GrowthSpotter the new school would be designed to accommodate 1,274 students. It would open in fall of 2024 — one year after the new K-5 school opens in Celebration’s Island Village. In addition to serving their immediate areas, both schools would provide relief to the existing schools serving the western and southwestern side of the county. The Westside K-8 School, for example, is utilizing 23 portables to accommodate its nearly 2,000 students, and that doesn’t include the 11 classrooms of students who are taking online classes because of COVIDE. The building was designed to serve less than 1,400 students.

Rhonda Blake, director of planning for SDOC, is scheduled to meet with Kissimmee’s Development Review Committee in June to discuss the future land use and PD amendment to accommodate the school. According to submitted plans, the district would build a spine road through a 110-acre parcel on Poinciana Boulevard and purchase the land west of the new road. The district will seek a future land use of Institutional for the land, and about 18 acres will be preserved as wetlands.

The Sabetis would retain the land east of the spine road and request a future land use of Multi-Family Medium-Density Residential.

The SDOC hired Jill Rose with Bishop Beale Duncan in 2019 to assist with site selection for new schools and facilities. She helped them close the deal for 131 acres on Nova Road for a transportation depot and future high school to serve the eastern side of the county. But finding a school site for the western side of the county, where the district must compete with homebuilders and resort developers for vacant land, was one of her biggest challenges.

“I’ve got to say this is one of my most prideful moments in representing a client,” Rose said. “I just love being able to help the community.”

The district is projecting Osceola County will grow by 32% through the end of this decade. That translates to 123,000 more residents and 52,600 new homes by 2030 — and 15,350 new students.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @byLauraKinsler. Follow GrowthSpotter on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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