The roof and walls are up, and interior work is underway as a relief elementary school in Horizon West continues to take shape.
Orange County School Board leaders and builders hosted a 40% construction community meeting regarding elementary school site 25-E-SW-4 Feb. 20 at the Bay Lake Elementary School cafeteria. The elementary school will be located at 9131 Taborfield Ave., Orlando.
Project Manager Glenn Mullins, of CPPI, the construction management company building the school, gave a presentation about the progress that has been made since the summer of 2018. He said the foundation work for the school began in July, and the concrete pad was laid in August. Exterior walls were raised in September, and structural steel was installed in October. The roof was installed in November, interior work began in December, and by January, parking and the roads on the school site began to take shape. Construction for the school is expected to be completed in May, and the school will open in August in time for the 2019-20 school year, Mullins said.
“Back in June, we were actually doing dirt work, so we were clearing the site (for our) building pad and getting ready to start building the building,” Mullins said. “The next big milestone for us is (installing) permanent power to the facility, which we’re anticipating here within the next week or so.”
Mullins added that stormwater will be stored in two retention ponds on the school property. Both ponds will be fenced off with a six-foot, black-vinyl fence around the perimeter of each pond.
The school was budgeted for $23.3 million. The site area for the school is 13.5 acres, and the gross floor area is 104,342 square feet. Student capacity is 837 students. The car loop for student drop-off/pick-up will have a queueing capacity of 171 cars, and the bus queue can accommodate 17-plus buses. Total parking capacity at the school is 124 cars, according to Mullins’ presentation and an Orange County Public Schools fact sheet.
Classrooms for primary-grade students — kindergarten through third grade — will be equipped with their own bathrooms. The school is not expected to need portables to accommodate students, said Jessma Lambert, facilities director of construction planning for OCPS.
“We do not anticipate — day one — having any portables at this school,” Lambert said.
A number of residents at the meeting raised questions regarding parking along Taborfield Avenue in addition to whether or not there will be a four-way stop and crosswalk at Taborfield Avenue and Lady Diana Place, which is a point of entry to the school.
Lambert wrote in an email that signs reading “No Parking, No Standing, No Waiting” will be installed along Taborfield Avenue, and a crosswalk traversing Taborfield Avenue will be located on the north side of intersection of Taborfield and Lady Diana Place. The need for a four-way stop at that intersection will be evaluated upon the school’s opening.
Julie Helton, who will be the principal of the new school, said she’s been working on naming the school with the help from students and parents. Students submitted name suggestions, and the top three names submitted were Castleview Elementary, Lake Mabel Elementary and Seven Seas Elementary. The three names then went to a vote among parents, and voting ended 9 p.m. the night of the meeting. A school mascot will be chosen once a name is selected, Helton said.
“We are relieving Independence Elementary and Sand Lake (Elementary) as well as Bay Lake (Elementary),” Helton said. “Regardless of which (name) is chosen, we will start a historical society, and I want to make sure the students know what the history of the area is.”
Lambert said although voting for the school name ended the night of the community meeting, the School Board won’t be approving the name until the April meeting.
Helton said within the school’s first year of operation, she will gauge interest among the school’s community to add pre-K and a dual-language magnet program to the school. She also said the school is slated to open with 700 students.
“The first year, we will gauge interest for pre-K and then we’ll see if we need to add a pre-K program for either the second semester or the second year,” Helton said. “I will also be gauging interest for a dual-language magnet program for the following year.”