School construction activity heating up

Cypress Creek Middle High will be adding a senior class this year, but that isn’t the only change that will be happening at the campus off Old Pasco Road.

Cypress Creek Middle School is under design right now, with construction expected to begin in October or November, said Mike Gude, director of construction services and code compliance for Pasco County Schools.

The construction budget for the school is $43.5 million, and the planned opening date for the new middle school is in August of 2020, he said. When completed, it will have a robust performing arts wing, including a black box theater.

Mike Gude, director of construction services and code compliance for Pasco County Schools, provided an overview of construction work underway in an area stretching from Starkey Ranch to Zephyrhills. (B.C. Manion)

Also, on the same campus, Pasco-Hernando State College is planning a $15.5 million performing arts center, that will serve as both an educational facility and cultural arts facility.

The college is in charge of construction, but the school district is providing about 5.5 acres for the site.

The state college will build the performing arts center on land that was donated by the school district, and both the college and school district plan to use the performing arts center for educational programming.

The school district plans to use access off Old Pasco Road when construction begins, to avoid interacting with current access to the Cypress Creek Middle High campus.

Meanwhile, work is expected to wrap up at Woodland Elementary School in Zephyrhills by the time school begins.

“The new building is mostly finished,” Gude said, and the renovation of the existing building is for a new administration area underway.

The project includes a new cafeteria, a new classroom building, renovated classrooms and restrooms, and a new administration area.

A major overhaul also is planned at Zephyrhills High School, which is in the middle of design right now.

The district plans to begin some preliminary construction activities at the school during the summer, with the expectation of beginning heavier work later this year.

“It will be a phased project,” Gude said, with the first phase being a new classroom building.

“Everybody will stay on the campus, but by building the new classroom building, that will enable us to move a section of the students out there,” he added.

A final determination hasn’t been made yet, but the project will likely be done in four or five phases, he said.

When the renovation is completed, the district expects to be able to accommodate about 500 more students at the campus. The estimated construction cost is $28 million.

“That will be an exciting project,” Gude said.

Land O’ Lakes High School is on schedule to be completed by August 2019.

“Everything has been going smooth. The principal has been great to work with, in terms of moving his folks around,” he said. When completed, Land O’ Lakes High will be able to accommodate around 450 more students, he said.

New construction also is planned for a kindergarten through eighth-grade school at Starkey Ranch.

“That is in the very early stages of design right now,” Gude said. The school is scheduled to open in August 2021.

As part of that project, the school district will have a partnership with Pasco County involving a public library/community theater, next to the school.

“It’s a good partnership,” Gude said. “It makes perfect sense. We’re all public entities, so why not share in some of these facilities.”

Published June 13, 2018

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