Orange County Commission approves relief high school

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  • | 7:48 p.m. May 5, 2015
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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WEST ORANGE — The Orange County Board of County Commissioners held a final public hearing on the West Orange High relief school May 5, approving a plan for the Beck Property in the West Windermere Rural Settlement with four new conditions.

Those conditions are: prohibition of bleachers at the school’s practice fields, band practices ending by 8 p.m., restrictions on portables and signage restrictions.

The commissioners reaffirmed their approval of a modification of Option B, one of the Orange County School Board proposals that involved an off-site stadium and a 2,776-student capacity.

The 65-acre parcel for the relief school is along County Road 535 (Winter Garden-Vineland Road) at the northeast corner of an intersection that includes 535 to the north and east, Summerport Village Parkway to the west and Ficquette Hancock Road to the south.

Alterations to Option B, as amended by the commissioners at a public hearing April 7, included an 8-foot precast concrete wall with columns along the north and east property lines that was part of Option A and a proposal by District 1 Commissioner Scott Boyd.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs had altered language regarding future site purchases by Orange County Public Schools. This alteration would offer OCPS the ability to purchase an option on a future site if it lacks zoning.

This vote is the final approval for construction to begin at the site, which could be ready for the 2017-18 school year.


The biggest difference between Option A and the modified Option B conditions of this agreement was the off-site stadium, which crews will construct at the Orange County Dorman Property about one mile south on Ficquette Road.

At the Dorman Property, a future Orange County public park site, Orange County will build a standard public high school stadium at a site to be determined in consultation with OCPS, which will provide minimum standards for the stadium. The stadium will open by July 31, 2018, with Orange County retaining title to the entire property.

Basic stadium components will be for an FHSAA regulation-size football field, including stadium lights, field-goal posts, locker rooms, restrooms, a scoreboard, aluminum bleachers for up to 1,500 spectators, FHSAA regulation track and field facilities, a broadcast booth and a concession stand.

OCPS officials estimate costs for that stadium to be no more than $5 million, with OCPS and Orange County paying half each. Orange County will bear additional costs: parking lots, storm water maintenance facilities, area infrastructure and other park facilities. Orange County will name the public park but not object to appropriate signs identifying it as the home of the relief school’s athletics.

OCPS will schedule, maintain and have continual priority over the stadium, with Orange County reimbursing 50% of maintenance costs. OCPS will coordinate with Orange County Parks and Recreation for use of stadium-related facilities at least twice each year.

Residential-style lighting will be around the perimeter of the on-site relief school practice field, turn off automatically at 8 p.m. and not exceed 30 feet in height.

Crews will install a 6-foot decorative aluminum fence along C.R. 535 and a black vinyl chain-link fence around the storm water retention area. Parking lot lights will be the style of the Publix lot in the Cornerstone at Summerport at the southwest corner of the intersection. Those lights will be no taller than 30 feet, with all parking and field lights complying with exterior lighting ordinances. The relief school will have subdued bells, canopy buffer trees along both sides of the retention area to maximize buffering and building facades with elevation-compliant architectural styles like SunRidge Middle School.

OCPS also consented to the County Commission amending Orange County’s school-siting ordinance to prohibit building future public high schools in rural settlements, although Jacobs clarified the commissioners were not considering such amendments for the immediate future.

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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