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Windermere Observer Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018 5 months ago

Bridgewater relief school progressing on schedule

School board leaders and builders gave an update on Wednesday, Oct. 30, regarding the relief middle school for Bridgewater.
by: Eric Gutierrez Staff Writer

A new middle school under construction in Horizon West is beginning to take shape.

Builders and school board leaders held a 40% construction community meeting regarding a new school that will relieve Bridgewater Middle School. The meeting took place Wednesday, Oct. 30, at BMS.

The new Horizon West middle school is known as Site 37-M-SW-4 and will be located at 8200 Tattant Blvd., Windermere. It will open in August 2019, just in time for the 2019-20 school year.

Jack Williams of Harvard Jolly Architects discussed some of the security measures of the school’s design.

“There’s passive security in the sense that our buildings are secure from entry — entry by many points — by fencing or the buildings themselves,” Williams said. “It’s designed so that we have a single point of entry during the course of the day where (guests) have to check in at the admin (building) reception before they actually are entered into the school.

“Secondly, we do have security cameras throughout the campus — within the site on the interior of the building — that are monitored for security,” he said. “And finally, the site itself is secured by fencing primarily around the buildings.”

Williams also talked about the design of the school itself.

“Our campus is designed around a courtyard,” Williams said. “We have four buildings. … We also have an area for athletics — which includes a soccer field, a 400-meter track, basketball and tennis (courts) — and we do have provisions for future portables.”

In addition to the athletic amenities and a site for portables, the school also will include a stormwater retention pond on the south end of the property. The pond will be fenced off to prevent students from accessing it.  

The four core buildings of the school will be an administration building, multi-purpose building, classroom building and gymnasium, Williams said. 


“We have Building 1 —  our admin building — which will have our main entry (point),” Williams said, discussing the buildings themselves. “We have our multi-purpose building, which has our dining, stage and kitchen facility as well as provisions for covered dining right off the area adjacent to the courtyard. … Our primarily classroom building is a three-story building. The floor plans are virtually identical on each floor. … And then finally we have our fourth building, which is our gym/P.E. building.” 


Williams added that each floor of the classroom building will be dedicated to a grade level and that each floor will include an administrator suite, collaboration space, resource rooms and other core facilities. On the outside, the school will include the construction of sidewalks along Tattant Blvd. for students who walk or bike to school. 

Larry Sease of Wharton-Smith Inc. Construction Group — which is the company managing the project — discussed the construction progress. 

“Because of some permitting (issues) we were a little slow in getting started, but we made up all that time,” Sease said. “It was a wide-open (in) March of 2018. In July of 2018 ... we (had) a lot going on. All of the foundations were going in, slabs were going in.”

By August 2018, about 95% of the walls for the buildings were raised. As of October, all four core buildings have been constructed with two of the buildings roofed and the other two partially roofed. Additionally, the stormwater retention pond has been dug, Sease said.

“The site work continues up through the parking lot with (installing) underground utilities,” Sease said. “And then inside the buildings, we’re also framing walls, hanging drywall (and) getting … everything ready to go inside.”

District 4 School Board Member Pam Gould said zoning, school colors, the school’s name and any special and/or magnet programs will be determined after the first of the year once a principal is chosen for the new school. 

“I’m looking forward to having the relief (school) for Bridgewater and I’m looking forward to having another school that’s a little closer in the community to serve our neighbors,” Gould said. “That should also help with some of the traffic that we have out here in the west … We always discover new programing and new options for our kids, and it’ll be interesting to see what this community wants.”


Eric Gutierrez is a staff writer with the West Orange Times & Observer and Windermere Observer. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2015 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science. Got a story idea? Contact Eric at...

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