Pasco County Schools has moved a step closer in its partnership with Pepin Academies, to establish Pepin Academy at Kirkland Ranch, a new charter school for third- through 12th-graders.
The school will be on the campus of Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation, at 9100 Curley Road in Wesley Chapel.
It will be built to accommodate 400 student stations, and beyond standard classrooms, it will have an administrative suite, media center, student dining/multipurpose room, music room, art room, and other elective classrooms/labs, according to information in the Pasco County School Board’s Feb. 7 agenda packet.
The project also may include infrastructure for a future gym if the gym cannot be accommodated within the current construction budget.
Other parts of the plan include exterior covered play areas, playgrounds and a playfield.
Also, there will be an on‐site parent pickup and drop‐off driveways, the agenda materials say.
The school board and Pepin Academies are listed as owners in the agreement approved with Hepner Architects, as part of the school board’s consent agenda.
Pepin Academies selected Hepner for the project, which has a construction budget of $14 million. Construction is expected to be completed by summer of 2024.
The agreement includes providing basic services: architectural design, civil engineering, landscape/irrigation design, structural engineering, other engineering, and a criteria‐based fire sprinkler design.
The architect proposed a fixed fee in the amount of $908,000, for basic services, which includes $75,800 for civil engineering basic services.
The school board’s action follows the approval of a contract in November — between Pepin and the school board — which sealed the deal on the unique partnership.
The school construction must meet all state requirements, and Pepin and the school board have agreed to fund the construction of the school using impact fees.
When it approved the partnership, the school board also approved a memorandum of understanding, as well as a step-in agreement for the district to take over the school, should the charter school cease operations.
Pepin Academies are full-time exceptional student education day schools that offer a standard diploma option for students with learning and learning-related disabilities in grades three through 12, according to Pepin’s website.
Pepin Academies operates a Pasco campus in New Port Richey, one in Tampa and one in Riverview. It provides individualized instruction, focused on providing academic and social achievement, its website says.
The new charter school will be the third school on the Kirkland Ranch campus. Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation, a magnet school for grades nine through 12, is already operating, and Kirkland Ranch K-8 is set to open in August 2024.
Published February 22, 2023
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