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Three planned new schools will house 5,100 student in flourishing south Sarasota County

Two new schools in Wellen Park and a third nearby will serve the Venice-North Port area as Sarasota County Public Schools plans for growth. A historic school will also get a makeover.

$18.1 million in facelifts are planned for Bay Haven School for Basics Plus.
$18.1 million in facelifts are planned for Bay Haven School for Basics Plus.
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As the 44,000 students of the Sarasota County Public Schools district are preparing to return the classroom for the 2022-23 school year, the district’s Construction Services division is busy planning four near-term construction projects, three of which will relieve crowding and create capacity for anticipated growth in the southern part of the county.

Scheduled to open in 2025, two new schools in Wellen Park will serve every grade with a new K-8 and a new high school scheduled to open in time for the 2025-26 school year.

Covering 11,000 acres, Wellen Park, a planned community near Venice, will have 22,000 homes and some 60,000 residents at buildout.

A second K-8 at Clark and Lorraine roads will open a year earlier, and over the next two-plus years the Bay Haven School of Basics Plus will undergo necessary mechanical upgrades and renovations sensitive to the historic nature of the building.

In all, the four projects will cost $343 million and serve upwards of 5,700 students. Here is a summery of the district’s four capital projects.

• New high school in Wellen Park: Architect-engineer and construction management contracts are complete and design was scheduled to begin in August 2022 with construction to start in April 2023. With approximately 2,100 students in grades 9-12, the school is scheduled to open in in August 2025.

In addition to classroom space, the project includes an auditorium, media center, gymnasium, cafeteria, full athletic facilities and site work on a compact site located within Wellen Park. The district is planning to utilize a Florida prototype to reduce time and cost.

With a total of 425,000 square feet, the school will cost $155 million. It is intended to relieve pressure at Venice High plus accommodate a projected increase of nearly 3,400 future students across all grades from Wellen Park.

• New K-8 school in Wellen Park: Architect-engineer and construction management contracts will be let in January 2023 and design should start in February 2023. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2024 with opening expected in August 2025. With a budget of $85 million, the school will accommodate approximately 1,500 students, providing relief for Taylor Ranch Elementary School and classroom space for new students from Wellen Park.

The new K-8 and high schools are located on adjoining sites on River Road. The schools will share sharing parking lots and bus loops.

• New K-8 at Clark and Lorraine roads: Design is underway with construction expected to begin in January 2023 and opening in August 2024. It is the district’s intent to utilize a prototype K-8 concept. Final programing decisions are in process with a focus on STEAM and Robotics. Designed for 1,500 students, the budget is $85 million.

• Renovation at Bay Haven School of Basics Plus: Design work is scheduled to begin in July 2022. The renovations will be phased-in over 24 to 30 months. The historic circa-1926 building requires careful demolition and specific renovation procedures to ensure that the finished project maintains its historic significance.

At $18.1 million, the project consists of setting up 10 existing portables on site and possibly adding two additional units to house displaced students and staff, renovation of the building and restoration of the site. The renovation includes electrical, mechanical and plumbing upgrades; structural remediation where necessary; new exterior doors and hardware;  partial window replacement; new flooring, painting and partial casework replacement; new elevator; restroom upgrades; and new soffits and fascia.


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