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Ground breaks on Boggy Creek STEAM high school

Posted on Friday, October 21, 2016 at 9:51 am

By Ken Jackson
Staff Writer
Osceola County’s newest high school should look more like a community college campus.
The project, currently known as The High School at Boggy Creek Road, is scheduled for completion in August 2018 at a price tag of $75 million.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Wednesday morning at the 75-acre tract in north Osceola County,

Above is a rendering of the look of the new STEAM high school in Boggy Creek once it is complete. Rendering/SchenkelShultz

Above is a rendering of the look of the new STEAM high school in Boggy Creek once it is complete. Rendering/SchenkelShultz

midway between Simpson Road and Austin-Tindall Park and across from East Lake Fish Camp. The site will include the high school, which will have 3,000 student stations, and a future feeder middle school.
The school will feature a STEM-heavy curriculum — and an arts component so the school district will make “STEAM” School Board Chairman Clarence Thacker said — and feature a staff of 200 that will be in place a year prior to opening.
“Those people will be in charge of finding out how to use this school to its fullest potential,” he said. “It will act and breathe different than any of our other schools.”
SchenkelShultz Architecture is the project designer; Gilbane Building Co. will handle the construction.
The new high school campus, officially known as “High School ‘FFF’” in district documents, will be a training ground for two facilities close by: Medical City just a few miles northeast near Lake Nona, and the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, a budding smart sensor research facility a few miles south.
“This high school fits in with all that,” Thacker said. “It ties the community together with what we’re all trying to do: bringing better jobs and people buying better houses and paying taxes in our county. It all leads to a better way of life that lifts us all up. I’m already hearing from people asking how they can get their kids in here.”
In addition to traditional indoor learning environments, the campus includes outdoor learning features such as demonstration photovoltaic panels, learning gardens, and outdoor classroom spaces to promote opportunities for learning to happen everywhere.
Osceola School Superintendent Debra Pace has been in her post less than a year, but said building this new high school right has been one of her priorities.
“Since I became superintendent I’ve know the importance of this work,” she said. “We no longer have a monopoly (referring to charter schools) on providing education. The quality of our facilities is critical to the quality of the pipeline of graduates and future skilled employees we send into the workplace.”
The new school was planned years ago and was expected to relieve Osceola, Gateway, Harmony and Celebration high schools through rezoning. But, that plan was scrapped in 2011 after the district realized it couldn’t foot the then-estimated $55 million in construction costs. At the time, the district was paying for rebuilding the campuses at St. Cloud and Osceola high schools.
Despite costs increasing five years later, it will be built at a cost of $214 per square foot, which is well below the state-mandated maximum for school construction, Pace said.
“We will deliver this school on time and under budget,” she said. “After today, I look forward to the ribbon cutting.”

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