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Southwest Orange Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020 2 years ago

OCPS provides construction update on Windermere relief high school

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Orange County district staff updated the community on the progress of Horizon West’s incoming relief high school on Seidel Road.
by: Danielle Hendrix Former Associate Editor

Now nearly halfway to completion, the new relief high school on Seidel Road is well on its way to serving Horizon West families.

Orange County Public Schools staff hosted a virtual 40% construction community meeting Monday, Aug. 17, to update the community on the school’s progress. Staff said Site 113-H-W-4 is on schedule, and the new campus has hit many milestones in the last few months.

Located on 68 acres at 10393 Seidel Road, the new school will relieve Windermere High. It is an OCPS prototype design with a permanent capacity of 2,776 students and will open its doors in August 2021. A survey is underway for parents, students and community members to add their suggestions for the school name, mascot and colors. The survey runs through Sept. 14.

“I was able to walk the site on Friday, and I can already tell you that the pictures just don’t do it justice,” Principal Laura Beusse said. “It’s a beautiful site.”

The school will have 850 parking spaces for students, staff and visitors, and there will be room to stack up to 300 cars. There will be a bus parking area with room for 75 buses and 75 bus drivers’ cars. That area also includes a bus-fueling station with above-ground tanks and a driver lounge.

Parents and students will arrive campus via the main access point on the west side of the property via Seidel Road, while staff and buses have access on the eastern side.

The buildings span 340,000 square feet and include the administration building with a secure, single access point; three-story classroom and lab building; cafeteria; auditorium and music building; and gymnasium and locker rooms. Everything will be surrounded by a secured courtyard area. The classroom building includes 75 classrooms, nine collaborative-learning hub spaces, eight skills labs, 16 science labs, three art labs and an assortment of vocational programs. 

On the southern end of the campus are outdoor tennis and basketball courts, softball and baseball fields, a lighted football stadium with track and field, two practice fields and a field house.

Larry Sease, project executive at Wharton Smith, updated community members on the construction progress. The property first was cleared and grubbed in November, and tilt-wall panels and structural steel began going up in May and June. 

Roofing began in June, while interior buildout started in July. Paving of the student parking and guest parking is complete, and the roadway into the bus loop and staff parking is underway. 

Sease said the construction team has had early-morning concrete pours and will continue to do so for another six to eight weeks in accordance with the Orange County noise ordinance. To minimize impact to neighboring communities, all construction-related traffic uses Frontage Road.

“A part of what’s going to take place on Seidel Road is there’s a traffic signal that’s going to be going in at Seidel Road and Frontage Road,” Sease said. “There’s also a right-hand turn lane along Seidel Road between State Road 429 and Frontage Road to turn into the campus, and there’s going to be a double left-turn lane installed within the median as you’re heading westbound along Seidel Road through Frontage Road.”

Those traveling in the area for the next few months may experience limited single-lane closures along Seidel Road at times to complete work located immediately adjacent to traffic lanes. Additionally, Summerlake Groves Street at Seidel Road will be closed to reconfigure the entrance for school-bus traffic.

“We are scheduled to have permanent power complete next month, which is huge for the project,” Sease said. “In addition, the campuswide roofing will be complete in September. The HVAC chiller startup will begin in November, so we should be pushing air beginning in November.”

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Danielle Hendrix was an associate editor for the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com.

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