By: Marisa Herman Associate Editor
Boca Raton is on track to open a new elementary school by 2020.
Finding the location for the school became a priority for Boca Councilman Scott Singer after he heard about the overcrowding of the city’s schools.
And when he heard that the Palm Beach County School Board’s plan to build a new elementary school outside the city didn’t pan out, he began to look at options within the city.
“I poured over what city assets we had,” he said. “I recognized the urgency when the other site fell through for us to move quickly.”
It was a piece of land by Don Estridge High Tech Middle School at Military Trail and Spanish River Boulevard that he said caught his attention.
He said he began talking to his colleagues on the dais, city staff and school board about the logistics of building a school on those parcels of city-owned land. The land was not zoned for any specific use.
The proposed school would be able to be built by 2020, which is two years ahead of what the school board planned for.
The idea is to build the school at the same time as the new Verde K-8 school is built. The new school could traditions into a K-8 model, according to a press release from the school board.
Once it is open, the new school would temporarily house the Addison Mizner students as that schools is also rebuilt or moved to Sugar Sand Park to expand to a K-8 model. This new proposed plan provides the school district more time to explore the potential for the Sugar Sand location and to mitigate any concerns of the community about the site, including concerns about traffic from West Camino Real and congestion on Military Trail.
Boca council members singed off on a resolution brought forward by Councilman Singer that allows the city to work with the district to provide the identified land for the school.
“I’m glad that we could act quickly to improve the lives of our students and families,” he said. “That quick action hopefully benefits a generation to come.”
Councilman Jeremy Rodgers agreed that he is excited to add another school to Boca.
“I am very proud to support this,” he said. “I look forward to seeing another A rated school in Boca.”
Other steps to increase capacity in Boca’s schools include: modular classroom additions at Spanish River High School, Calusa Elementary School, Eagles Landing and Omni Middle Schools.