Crews are working hard, as Kirkland Ranch K-8 continues to make progress toward its August 2024 opening date.
Marcy Hetzler-Nettles, assistant superintendent of middle schools, told the Pasco School Board that she recently had a chance to tour the construction area, along with Betsy Kuhn, assistant superintendent for support services, and Julie Marks, the school’s first principal.
Hetzler-Nettles told the school board that watching Principal Marks take in the sight was delightful.
“It was like Christmas morning, for a child unwrapping a gift, to see her eyes light up,” Hetzler-Nettles said.
Hetzler-Nettles also said crews at the work site are clearly focused on the tasks at hand.
“It is a serious beehive out there right now. It’s amazing the amount of crews that are all in – welding, electrical, they’re pulling cables. They’re putting up drywall, all over the place,” Hetzler-Nettles said.
“It looks fantastic and it’s coming together quite nicely. It’s going to be very exciting to see it, once it is done.”
The school, at 33137 Innovation Drive, in Wesley Chapel, will be on the east side of the campus of Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation.
During a previous presentation to the board, Peter Hepner, of Hepner Architects, offered details about the project. He said there will be play courts and a covered play area outdoors, as well as parking lots for staff and visitors, and a drop-off area for students.
The first floor will have spaces for administration, prekindergarten, primary classrooms, and elementary art, music and skills labs.
The student dining area includes a stage and there will be outdoor dining, too.
The second floor includes primary and intermediate classrooms, a media center and a teacher planning area.
On the third floor, there will be middle school classrooms, art and music areas, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Center and science labs.
Creative Contractors is the construction manager for the Kirkland Ranch K-8 project.
The school has been described on the school district’s website as a “state-of-the-art dedicated magnet school experience for young creators, innovators and entrepreneurs located near the Epperson community.”
The website notes that the school will have the magnet themes of World Languages and Entrepreneurship woven throughout the student experience.
Students will begin with their language acquisition in kindergarten and will have the opportunity to earn high school World Language credits in their middle school years, the website says.
The website also notes that Kirkland Ranch K-8 is the only school in Pasco County that offers a magnet entrepreneurship program, from kindergarten through eighth grade. The course progression allows students to cultivate entrepreneurial mindsets and capabilities beginning in elementary school.
Those wishing to attend the school can apply during the Pasco Pathways Application Window, between Jan. 8 to Jan. 19.
Published December 13, 2023