Pasco County Schools and Moffitt Cancer Center envision great possibilities of working together when the school district builds its planned 6-12 magnet STEAM school on land near Moffitt’s planned campus in Land O’ Lakes.
Ray Gadd, deputy superintendent for Pasco County Schools, recently updated the school board about a meeting between school district and Moffitt staff members.
“We had our first real, live, meeting with the administrative staff of Moffitt Cancer Center. And, it went really very, very well,” Gadd told the school board on Oct. 5.
“On the Angeline property, as the crow flies, is kind of back behind Land O’ Lakes High School, Moffitt is putting in a hospital and a big research center, and we have a school right across the street,” Gadd said.
“That school, we’ll start construction on that, I think, about mid-October. We’ll probably be the first building up out there. And, we are currently working with Moffitt and Pasco-Hernando State College to develop a very unique school setting.”
The campus will serve students in grades six through 12.
“More than likely, the upper classmen will have an opportunity to interact in the Moffitt hospital, with Moffitt researchers; (and) participate in apprentice programs and internships.
“It would be something that is very unique to the Pasco school system,” Gadd said, noting that Dr. Kim Moore, assistant superintendent who oversees the district’s career and technical programs, was at the meeting, as well as Dr. Monica Ilse, assistant superintendent for high schools, and Steve Hegarty, public information officer.
“We had a very, very positive reception from the Moffitt folks,” Gadd said.
In remarks to her school board colleagues, Cynthia Armstrong said it’s exciting “that we’re going to have a magnet school right next to their campus, which is going to be huge. So, we’re very excited about that.”
That meeting was a follow-up to a previous session between Gadd and Dr. Patrick Hwu, president and CEO of Moffitt.
Gadd previously briefed school board members about his meeting with Hwu.
During that briefing, Gadd told board members that he’d “heard through the grapevine that he (Hwu) was a big supporter of education, public education.”
But Gadd added: “My meeting with him was beyond expectations. I went there with a few ideas and he had hundreds of ideas about how our new STEM magnet in the Angeline area could be a partner with Moffitt.”
Gadd noted: “We’d have to work through all kinds of legal issues, as he and I discussed, but having students actually sit in, participate in procedures, surgeries, internships. Having graduate students and doctors actually come to the school building and teach courses and work with us, district-wide on virtual programs for kids, who are in nursing programs, health programs, biomedical engineering and those kinds of things.
“He was exuberant, and we made arrangements to connect my staff with his staff. I am really looking forward to the potential we have to work with Moffitt,” Gadd said.
Funding for the construction of the district’s planned 6-12 school in Land O’ Lakes was approved on Oct. 5, when the school board adjourned, then reconvened as the Pasco County School Board Leasing Corporation to approve $85 million in financing that will pay for the lease‐purchase financing of that school, and projects Hudson and Gulf high schools.
The new Angeline mixed-use community — which is being billed as a wellness-themed community — will be developed on thousands of acres of land, east of the Suncoast Parkway and south of State Road 52.
Moffitt plans to create a massive research and corporate innovation district.
Site entitlements for Moffitt’s project, which encompass 24 million square feet, include plans for a hospital, research and development space, office, manufacturing, laboratories, pharmacies, educational facility/university, hotel, and commercial space. The multiyear, multiphase project is expected to create 14,500 jobs.
The school district’s new school in Angeline will be designed for 1,694 student stations, which at 90% capacity translates to about 1,530 students, according to a previous report in The Laker/Lutz News.
The school board hired Ajax Building Company at its Sept. 15, 2020 meeting to do pre-construction work at the 6-12 STEAM school site.
The school is planned on an 18.8-acre site within Angeline, south of State Road 52, north of the future Ridge Road extension and west of Sunlake Boulevard, according to Ajax’s website.
“Campus plans include a one-story administration area, a one-story dining and multipurpose area with a full kitchen, two-story media, band and art areas, and a four-story classroom wing, with all areas connected by a one-story and two-story atrium/central corridor, the website post says.
The site development also includes “walkway canopies, aluminum shade system, fencing, walking trail, sidewalks, chiller/generator plan, site lighting, underground utilities, landscaping and irrigation,” according to information posted by Ajax.
Harvard Jolly is the architect on the school district project.
Published October 13, 2021