Ocoee commissioners welcome relocated charter school
Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School is changing its name to Innovation Montessori Ocoee and moving to North Lakewood Avenue after receiving unanimous approval from Ocoee commissioners Jan. 17.
| 11:55 a.m. January 25, 2017
West Orange Times & Observer
During the Jan. 17 Ocoee commission meeting, city leaders unanimously approved the final reading for what will be a prekindergarten-to-eighth-grade charter school called Innovation Montessori Ocoee.
The future home for the school, which has a capacity of 800 students and 96 teachers, will be situated on 17.6 acres of property on the west side of North Lakewood Avenue, 575 feet south of Fullers Cross Road.
The 5-year-old Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School has spent the last few months raising the money required for its relocation to Ocoee. Innovation Montessori students, parents, and teachers all attended the meeting to support the school during its public hearing for the annexation, rezoning and preliminary site plan.
During public comment, Sherilyn Moore, the school’s governing board president, proudly emphasized the school’s unique focus on teaching students to be compassionate and socially responsible.
“It’s not just an education of the mind; it’s an education of the heart. And we try to instill in our students every single day that this matters,” Moore said. “We have a curriculum that is called Grace and Courtesy. They learn that it’s their responsibility to care for each other.”
The school, which has been in Winter Garden since its inception, will be built in two phases, with an estimated completion date of August for phase one and January 2018 for phase two.
Phase one will see the building of a primary school for up to 126 prekindergarten and kindergarten students, while phase two will see construction of the elementary school from first through eighth grade.
The school grounds will have two access points on North Lakewood Avenue, and they are working with Orange County to ensure congestion is kept to a minimum on Lakewood by creating a dedicated right-turn lane and left-turn lane.
According to the preliminary site plan and chief designer, the school’s future location is heavily wooded with many oak trees and five acres of wetlands. However, the school board aims to retain 200 of those trees, preserve the wetlands and incorporate native vegetation.
The board also aims to have 50% of the 17.6 acres be left as open space and recreational areas.
“When we found the land, it was quite a dream come true,” Moore said. “We’ve all been working very hard with our amazing professional team here to make sure that we not only honor the land and save every tree we can but that we make sure our impact on the community is only a positive one.”