HORIZON WEST Orange County Public Schools officials and local dignitaries gathered from throughout West Orange for the Sept. 24 groundbreaking at the site of the relief school for West Orange High School.
At the approximate address of 5505 Winter Garden-Vineland Road, School Board Chairman Bill Sublette and Member Pam Gould, District 1 Orange County Commissioner S. Scott Boyd and current area students spoke about the milestone.
“The high school I am zoned for is very overcrowded,” Dr. Phillips High School student Brian Paulsen said. “And while I probably won’t go to this new school, I’m glad my little brother and little sisters, our friends, neighbors and other kids their age will get to go to this brand-new school, and I’m glad to see this school, the newest addition to our community, become a reality.”
Right after the groundbreaking, West Orange Country Club hosted a reception and then a 60% design meeting for the relief school, during which OCPS Associate General Counsel Eileen Fernandez said litigation from nearby residents appealing the current plans for the school still remains.
With an important timetable, a ruling in favor of OCPS could result in millions of dollars in damages if construction is delayed, Fernandez said.
SchenkelShultz Architecture partner Dave Torbert once more reviewed the plans for the school, with an alteration to the shape and location of its retention pond. The pond previously appeared in an L shape along the eastern and northern edges of the property, but that has been slimmed, with an added pond beyond the outfield fence of the softball field in the southeast corner. This change allowed plans to comply with an ordinance requiring retention ponds to be 75 feet from the neighborhood immediately east, Oxford Moor, Torbert said.
Torbert also mentioned gates and security booths would be at the entries, with numerous security cameras on site.
The next steps include choosing school colors, naming a principal, redrawing school zones and naming the school.
Gould said rezoning would move up about a year to January, and she has been requesting a hastening of principal selection. The resulting numbers of students in West Orange High School and the relief school are not yet known, and there is a possibility the relief school eventually will exceed its capacity of 2,776 students, she said.
Torbert said construction still is scheduled to last until August 2017, mostly in about 19 months between November 2015 and June 2017, which is when staff should be able to move into the building.
Gould said the football stadium for the high school — at the Dorman Property on Ficquette Road as part of Deputy Scott Pine Community Park — will be open in time for the fall 2017 athletics season. For now, OCPS and Orange County will each receive 50% of almost all revenues on the park site, she said.
She also said a plan was developing to connect all trails from Lake Mabel — between Reams and Winter-Garden Vineland roads — to the West Orange Trail.
Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].