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New middle school to be built in Lehigh

By Staff | Mar 20, 2019

A new middle school, located at Sunrise and Richmond Avenue, will grace the Lehigh Acres community in August 2021 to accommodate the growth in the East Zone.

“There are currently four middle schools and two K-8 schools in the East Zone,” Media Relations and Public Information Assistant Director Rob Spicker said. “Capacity and growth projections are the reason this middle school is needed in the East Zone.”

The architect for the job was approved by the School Board at its Feb. 12 meeting. Spicker said Owen-Ames Kimball ranked the highest and contract negotiations are underway.

The phase one pre-construction budget is estimated at $3,842,495.

Construction Senior Program Manager Scott Reichanbacher said during the March 12 School Board meeting that they have received the South Florida Water Manage-ment permit.

He said Harns Marsh is being used as a porotype for the middle school.

Board member Mary Fischer asked what qualifies the administrators to say they love the building. She asked if there was other information gathered regarding the usability, wear and tear, and functionality of the prototype when the kids are actually in the school.

Reichanbacher said the school administrators – principal and vice principal – are the customers, so they are asked how they like their custom built home. He said they ask how does the building work for them, how well is the student movement through the school, and how are the areas of curriculum working for them.

“We have heard nothing but positive things,” he said. “We created a prototype. There has always been the academic side of the house involved in those designs and we are supposed to use that for a 10-year period or longer, so long as it met the current need. We went out there to ask the questions and evaluate, and everyone seems to be saying that yes it does.”

With that said, Reichan-bacher said that he can move in any direction the board and the superintendent desire.

Superintendent Dr. Greg Adkins said if you were to look at the operational plan itself – the chiller, roof, flooring and the windows, those are things that they will evaluate.

Reichanbacher said if the school is going to be a shelter, then they are going to have to do some constructional changes to the building.

He said the county has a severe deficit for shelters.

“We are obligated to work with them. They have asked that when we built those schools east of I-75, if we could work with them,” he said.

Reichanbacher said the design period typically takes eight to 12 months and a middle school typically takes 14 months to build.