The Pasco County School Board has approved the construction of a new K-8 public school, on a 22-acre site south of State Road 54 and east of Skybrooke Boulevard.
The school, which has a guaranteed maximum price of $68,670,132, was designed by Zyscovich Architects. Ajax Building Company LLC is the construction management firm overseeing the project.
Jose Murguido, of Zyscovich, provided a presentation to school board members on Oct. 17.
“It’s truly a very exciting moment,” he told board members, before he began describing details of the new school, which is designed for 1,800 students.
“This is like none other in Pasco County. I’m very, very excited to share this with you,” Murguido said.
The school will be a single building, of two and three stories. It also will have an enclosed gymnasium.
There will be ample parking, as well as “a very, very generous drop-off queue making sure that we keep the traffic on Skybrooke moving smoothly,” he said.
The school also has a track, a multi-purpose playfield, basketball courts and a courtyard that can be used for outdoor learning.
The school is being built in an area where Pasco is experiencing explosive growth, he said.
“It is a school that’s urgently needed,” he said.
“The school basically divides the parking from the athletic playfields and the basketball courts,” he said.
“The way that the school is designed recognizes the learning needs of each of the grade levels that are in here,” he said.
The youngest children will be on the ground floor, along with the school’s administration, the media center and the gymnasium.
There’s a commons area in the center of the school.
“I call it the heart of the school — this is where the dining room, but also the celebrations are. You’ll see the stage in that location there, as well as ample dining facilities.
“It has a breakfast outdoor area, off to the left-hand side and a dining porch on the right-hand side, not only to promote outdoor dining, but also outdoor learning.
“The kitchen is right behind that,” he said.
The school has “a very, very robust music program,” Murguido added, and features art labs, as well.
The second floor is designed for children in second grade through fifth grade.
“They’re arranged in neighborhoods, so the age cohorts are kind of together in those areas.
“Then, of course, on the top, you have basically your middle school component — sixth, seventh and eighth. It has all of the science labs in that area,” he said.
He added: “It’s a very handsome building. It’s civic. It’s a public institution, so it makes a statement to the community.”
The single-building approach also promotes safety, Murguido said.
A single building, he said, “is the safest school that you could design. We design schools for the U.S. military and that’s the way you do it. So, this is an exceedingly safe facility.”
The school also is set up for ample bus service, he added. Plus, there is more than 4,600 feet of queuing, which will keep traffic off the area streets.
School board member Cynthia Armstrong complimented the architectural firm.
“I know this is your first project here. Thank you for coming up with such a great plan,” she said.
Murguido responded: “Thank you, (we) appreciate the opportunity, greatly.”
Armstrong also applauded the firm’s ability to fit all of the necessary components onto a small site, while also leaving ample queuing room for parents to pick up and drop off children.
The neighborhood also will appreciate that, the school board member said.
Board member Alison Crumbley added: “Less calls, less emails, less problems. And, I like all of the arts.”
Assistant superintendent Betsy Kuhn said the plan is to use the school to relieve crowding in area schools, but there also will be some spaces reserved to serve magnet students.
Primary spaces include administration, media, band/music, dining/kitchen and classrooms.
The school board’s approval provided a notice to proceed on the project, effective Oct. 17.
The project is scheduled for substantial completion as of April 24, 2025, with final completion slated for June 2, 2025, according to materials in the school board’s agenda packet.
Published October 25, 2023