ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla — An overcrowding issue among several elementary and middle schools in St. Johns County is expected to get some relief soon.
“The population continues to grow; we’ve got a lot of our campuses that have portable temporary classrooms which is not ideal for us,” said the district’s director for facilities and construction, Frank Cervasio.
On Wednesday district leaders celebrated a construction milestone for a new kindergarten through 8th grade school in the Beacon Lake neighborhood.
“We celebrate the lifting of the last piece of steel that will actually go in the facility,” said Cervasio.
Cervasio said the new kindergarten through 8th grade school will accommodate 1,500 students.
“We grow by more than a school’s worth of children each year,” said Tim Forson, the district’s superintendent.
District leaders said the k-8 models give them the ability to cover a greater number of students.
“As opposed to building an individual elementary school and an individual middle school, that doesn’t mean that we’ve walked away as using those for models in the future, but I think our planning staff works closely with the rest of growth management to understand where the right places are,” said Cervasio.
Construction on this new school started in February. Now the foundation of the building is complete, but it won’t be open for students until next school year.
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The district’s superintendent Tim Forson said this new school allows continued growth.
“We know that the next 10 years are probably going to look like the last 10, as far as trying to bring a school online or in some cases two on an annual basis,” said Forson. “It is exciting for the communities as well to see those new schools go up.”
This is one of two schools that will open next year and then a third k-8 is expected to open in 2025.