Growth and change are hallmarks at area schools

As 2019 becomes 2020, area schools continue to respond to growth, while also changing academic options available on some campuses.

Recently, Superintendent Kurt Browning announced an initiative that will create significant change in West Pasco-area schools to bolster academic performance, but he also outlined some coming projects within The Laker/Lutz News coverage area, as well.

This is what the new Instructional Performing Arts Center, to be built on the campus shared by Cypress Creek High School and the new Cypress Creek Middle School, will look like. The campus is at 8701 Old Pasco Road in Wesley Chapel. (Courtesy of Pasco-Hernando State College)

Specifically, Browning said the district plans to add a grade 6-12 STEM/STEAM magnet school in Land O’ Lakes that is proposed to open in August 2023 and a grade K-8 STEM/STEAM Magnet in Wesley Chapel, proposed to open in August 2024.

That’s on top of previously announced plans, which include an Eastside Technical High School, opening in August 2022.

District officials envision a magnet technical school that doesn’t fit the traditional educational mold.

They say it will combine a rigorous curriculum along with technical skills training — and will seek community partnerships to give students real-world experiences.

The idea is to prepare students to have many options when they leave high school — whether, say, they want to work as a welder for someone else; or, they want to have their own welding business.

While that school is still a couple of years off, the district plans to open Cypress Creek Middle School in August 2020.

It will be located on the same campus on Old Pasco Road in Wesley Chapel, where Cypress Creek Middle High has been serving grades six through 12.

Once the new middle school opens, it will serve grades six through eight, while the high school serves grades nine through 12.

The Pasco County School Board approved boundary changes — which primarily affected the Seven Oaks community in Wesley Chapel — to reassign students from that area to Cypress Creek Middle and Cypress Creek High. The boundary changes will relieve crowding at John Long Middle School and Wiregrass Ranch High School.

In the fall of 2020, Pasco County Schools is scheduled to open Cypress Creek Middle School. It is being designed for 1,600 students, making it the district’s largest middle school. The middle school will join Cypress Creek High and Pasco Hernando State College’s Instructional and Performing Arts Center. (Courtesy of Pasco County Schools)

On the same Cypress Creek campus, the school district donated land to Pasco-Hernando State College for the Instructional Performing Arts Center, now under construction, which will be known as IPAC.

The new performing arts center is expected to provide both educational opportunities and entertainment. It also is expected to benefit middle school through college students, through its programming.

Cypress Creek Middle School was designed to be compatible with the performing arts center, too. It will have a state-of-the-art black box theater, as well as facilities for dance, orchestra and chorus.

Meanwhile, the district also plans to open Starkey K-8 School in August 2021. It’s the first district school designed deliberately to serve kindergarten through eighth grade.

The school is the second phase of a partnership between Pasco County Schools, Pasco County government and Wheelock Communities, the private developers of Starkey Ranch, a community off State Road 54 in Trinity.

One part of the project is the Starkey District Park, which opened its first phase in November 2017. Two additional phases are planned for the park.

The school will be near the district park.

There’s also a third part of the project that involves construction of what’s been dubbed TLC, which stands for theater, library and cultural center.

In addition to new construction, the district also is working to improve existing facilities.

Most recently, it wrapped up a massive makeover of Land O’ Lakes High School — which involved five phases, and required considerable coordination to complete while students and staff remained on campus.

The work was done in stages to avoid sending students and staffs to another campus, or using split sessions.

The project involved reconfiguring spaces to improve campus flow, and modernizing facilities.

It involved tearing out walls, redoing plumbing, electrical and upgrades to technology. It also included a five-classroom addition to the science wing.

The school recently celebrated the project’s completion with a rededication ceremony, and on another night, it offered public tours.

Major Pasco County Schools projects, 2019-2020:

  • Zephyrhills High campus-wide renovation
  • Land O Lakes High campus-wide renovation, final phase
  • Cypress Creek Middle construction
  • Starkey K-8 construction
  • Starkey Library Theater construction
  • East Technical High construction
  • SunlakeHigh design and construction of classroom wing
  • Bexley Elementary design and construction of classroom wing

Source: Pasco County Schools

Published January 01, 2020

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