Growth along US 17-92 CR 54 in Polk County draws charter school development proposal
By J. Kyle Foster
Nov 07, 2019 | 2:23 PM
Polk County’s intense growth is attracting a new charter school to the intersection of Ronald Reagan Parkway and Old Kissimmee Road – near a recently built Publix in the new Loughman Crossing in Davenport and the Providence golf community.
Orlando-based Southcrest Management LLC, which specializes in charter school construction, is the developer and builder. The school site would serve about 750 students in its first year from kindergarten to 8th grade, Southcrest partner and COO Mike Ezzard told GrowthSpotter. Ezzard said he couldn’t yet disclose the school operator.
“All the public schools are either at capacity or close to capacity,” in the area, Ezzard said. “It should serve the community very well.”
The trade area has more than tripled to current population of 19,757 from 6,457 in the 2010 census, according to a residential site report conducted by Halvorsen Holdings, developer of Loughman Crossing. A trade area is the geographic area from which a community generates the majority of its customers. “That’s why we feel there is a big need for a charter school there,” Ezzard said.
The proposed 2-story school will be accessed via a driveway on Old Kissimmee Road, and a Right-In/Right-Out (RI/RO) access on Ronald Reagan Parkway, according to a traffic memorandum submitted to the Polk County Development Review Committee.
A level-two project with Polk County, the charter school is still under review by the DRC, D’Lise Rayl, a Polk County development coordinator, told GrowthSpotter. Various reviewers have sent questions to the engineer – Ezzard – she said.
Reviewers want more on the site surveys, Ronald Reagan Landscape design compliance information, student count, utility information and some other information, Rayl said.
The 8.3-acre site is zoned residential but has a conditional use allowance for the school, Ezzard said. It is currently occupied by a heavily overgrown/wooded and low-lying wet area and mobile home structures. Ezzard said he is hoping to break ground in mid-2020 with a planned opening in 2021.
Since 2005, 16 residential developments have been built in the US 17-92 CR 54 area, according to the Halvorsen residential status report. Another 17 are proposed. That’s more than 9,000 homes. Phase 2 of Providence alone will account for nearly 3,000 residential units.
“You can see it’s a great location for a charter school,” Tim Berg, Halvorsen Real Estate Corporation president, told GrowthSpotter. “It’s right behind us.”
Polk County is 9th largest public school district in the state based on student population. The district has Polk County currently has 125,000 school-aged students, with that number projected to increase to more than 140,000 by 2025 and nearly 148,000 by 2030.
Florida-based Halvorsen built the Publix in Loughman Crossing as one of the first Publix stores with an upstairs café and a driver-through pharmacy. The store opened last month. Loughman Crossing has signed AT&T, Great Clips, Publix Liquors, Erlyn's Taxes, Encore Nails and Lin Garden in the surrounding shops. Three of the six outparcels have been ground leased or sold to 7-Eleven, Heartland Dental and Burger King, Berg said.
“This area – the Davenport area – is one on the fastest growing areas in central area,” Berg said. “It (Charter School) will help spur residential growth, which is good for us. Everything that happens in the area is just going to continue to spur more growth.”