Parents and faculty who gathered at the West Orange Country Club on Friday, Oct. 5, were given a sneak peak at the plans for Central Florida Preparatory School’s new campus. The new facility will offer opportunities to expand the student body and provide on-campus sports programs.
The 27-year-old school has about 200 students at its Citrus Oaks Avenue location in Gotha. The new location will have space for 850 students, although school leaders said it will maintain its current class size and ratio model.
Following a buffet dinner, co-founder and director Rowena Flanders-Ramos and Executive Director Chris Wester spoke about the vision for the new school home and presented a video unveiling the design of the campus.
Flanders-Ramos said the land has been purchased and the project is in permitting, but she would not share location details.
Wester said it is within five miles of the current school.
The project is scheduled to break ground in 2019 and be completed in time for the start of school in fall 2020.
Flanders-Ramos is looking forward to the school’s next phase.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’re always going to get the same result,” she said.
Central Florida Prep will add an app that gives parents payment options, as well as push notifications in real time. A Mariner Volunteer Parent program is starting. New classroom and athletic programs are being implemented.
Wester was recently hired, too, for his transformational leadership skills that will benefit the school and its future.
“CFP’s new school will … provide personalized educational programs and specific academies for students,” a release from the school stated. “CFP’s new school will provide connections and partnerships with local businesses and enhance the current programs offered at our Gotha location. Our new school building will … offer on-property sports programs and competition spaces for students to participate in (myriad) extracurricular activities.”
The campus will have a gymnasium; multi-purpose rooms; computer, art and science labs; and common areas for group learning.
“This is not your traditional 1950s box (for learning),” Flanders-Ramos said of the classrooms. “This is a learning environment to encourage growth.”
Parents asking about security measures at the new campus were pleased with what they heard. Security cameras will be placed throughout the campus, and all doors will incorporate key fobs, locks and codes. Law enforcement will be connected to the campus, which will have a fenced perimeter.
Flanders-Ramos said she doesn’t anticipate an increase in tuition, but there might be more fundraisers planned to pay off the debt.
Colleen Marrero, a fifth-grade teacher at Central Florida Prep, has taught at the school for six years and has two children who are graduates, one who is a senior this year and another who is in eighth grade.
She said she is excited for the greater opportunities the new school will provide.
“I’ve always said if I won the lottery that’s what I would do; I would buy the school a place of its own,” Marrero said. “It’s beautiful for (Flanders-Ramos) to have a place of her own.”
Central Florida Prep was the dream of Flanders-Ramos and her late husband, Bob, who founded the school in 2000 on three primary principles: knowledge, family and life. It provides education to children from age 1 through 12th grade.
“We aren’t planning to be anything other than who we are,” Flanders-Ramos said.
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.