A groundbreaking was held Sept. 9 to begin work on a new career and technical school off Curley Road, in East Pasco County, across from a sizable development called Epperson.
Then, at the Sept. 15 Pasco County School Board meeting, a contract was approved for preconstruction work on a new 6-12 School in the emerging Angeline community in Land O’ Lakes.
Meanwhile, work continues on the construction of the new Starkey Ranch K-8 in the Starkey Ranch development, a growing Pasco County community.
During the groundbreaking ceremony and at the board meeting, Pasco School Board members and school district officials expressed enthusiasm about expanding educational opportunities for district students.
The 184,000-square-foot Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation, being built at 9100 Curley Road, is expected to serve 1,000 students and is scheduled to open for the 2022-2023 school year.
The school will prepare students for high-salary, high-skill careers in high-demand areas such as digital multimedia, engineering and robotics, biomedical sciences, building construction, and cyber security, according to district officials.
School board member Allen Altman is delighted with the new school, as he has been pushing for years to expand educational opportunities in East Pasco.
“That just warms my heart,” Altman said, at the board’s Sept. 15 meeting.
“I can’t tell you how many years that I’ve tried for that. The Recession kind of put us behind,” he said, then it was one thing after another.
The new facility, he said, is “just a tremendous thing for the entire county, but especially that community.”
In a video of the groundbreaking, posted on Twitter, Altman put it like this: “Things came together, I believe, in almost divine intervention, with the right property, at the right time, with the right people in place to make this a success.”
In the same video, Superintendent Kurt Browning said “you know, technical education is so important. We’re excited for what it means for our students and our community.”
Deputy Superintendent Ray Gadd, who also made an appearance in the video, said: “The school will sit right here, on top of this big hill, overlooking the ponds below and the oak trees. And then, behind us, on the back side of the property will have a K-8 STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) Academy, at some point, opening probably in ’24. This school will open in ’22.
“We’re literally going to put a technical school right in the middle of what will be a future suburbia for Pasco County,” Gadd said.
While the district proceeds on construction of Kirkland Academy of Innovation, it also is embarking on another project for a school known on as School LLL, which is planned for Central Pasco County.
At its Sept. 15 meeting, the board approved a $235,000 contract with Ajax Building Company for pre-construction work relating to a new 6-12 school planned for the Angeline community of Land O’Lakes.
The school will be designed for 1,694 student stations, which at 90% capacity translates to about 1,530 students.
The school will be designed on an 18-acre site within Angeline.
Construction is scheduled to begin in September 2021, with substantial completion expected in July 2023.
Meanwhile, the district has begun the boundary process for the new Starkey Ranch K-8.
A parent-night workshop is planned for Oct. 6 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Odessa Elementary School, 12810 Interlaken Road in New Port Richey. New boundaries must be drawn to assign students to the school.
A public hearing for the boundaries proposal is planned for Nov. 17 at 6 p.m., with final school board action on Dec. 1.
Published September 23, 2020