- January 6, 2021
Orange County School Board Member Pam Gould hosted a community meeting Monday, Dec. 12, to update families on the construction progress of the Water Spring Middle School campus. The school opened to students in August 2021 but has been utilizing one wing at Horizon High School.
The permanent WSMS facility is being built at 17000 Water Spring Blvd., Winter Garden, and will open next August with a capacity of 1,215 students. Gould said the number of students will ebb and flow until another relief middle school is constructed to the southwest in the future.
About 635 students attend Water Spring Middle at its current location.
“WSMS is an A school, and we’re working hard to carry that over to our new school,” said Dr. Brian Sanchez-Corona, assistant principal.
Gould said she drives by the site frequently and is amazed at the construction growth each time.
The facility is located at Water Spring Boulevard and Point Rock Drive. Water Spring Boulevard will be the main driveway for vehicle queueing; Point Rock will serve as the bus drop-off access. A single point of entry will be located to the north of the property. The campus also will have fields for soccer and softball, tennis courts, and space for future portables.
The school will have four buildings and three floors, with administration, media center, art and labs, music space, a kitchen and multipurpose dining area, classrooms and collaborative space, and a gymnasium.
At the 40% construction mark, builders are working on the plumbing, insulation, drywall and framing. The duct work is ongoing, and the crew is nearly finished installing the second-floor windows and about to move up to the third floor for window installation.
Along with Gould, also present were representatives from CORE Construction and Orange County Public Schools’ facilities construction planning department and traffic department.
“Just under a year ago we started, and we’ll be ready to accept students in about six months for the 2023-24 school term,” said David Lewis, executive vice president of CORE Construction. “It’s on time and tracking well.”
Several parents in attendance had questions about busing, feeder schools and principal assignment. Currently, Andrew Jackson is serving as principal of Horizon High and Water Spring Middle. Parents say they have developed a relationship with Sanchez-Corona at WSMS and have expressed their desire to see him assigned to the principal’s position when the new school is open.
OCPS will plan a sneak peak of the facility upon completion next summer.
“(The School Board has) pulled off miracles and so have our partners, especially with supply chain issues and covid,” Gould said. “It’s a collaborative community effort that makes all this possible.”
The idea of opening two schools on one campus while a second school facility is being constructed is not new. OCPS used this same format to open Lake Nona High and Lake Nona Middle schools to alleviate overcrowding at multiple schools on an earlier schedule.