New options could save district $9.5M
By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - With a renewed sense of urgency and desire for a plan of action, Indian River County school district Superintendent Fran Adams presented three options for relocating Osceola Magnet School in Vero Beach to Indian River County school board members last week.
Two options are for building a new school, one on donated property in the Pointe West community or on donated property in Waterway Village, which is near Storm Grove Middle School.
The third option calls for moving the magnet school to Dodgertown Elementary School and spreading those students to other area elementary schools.
Ms. Adams said she would prepare a final recommendation for the school board on Dec. 13.
Moving the magnet school to the current Dodgertown Elementary School would cost significantly less than building a new school, which is what the board was considering in their negotiations with developers at Pointe West since 2000.
The estimated cost of moving to Dodgertown, a facility with more than 40 years of use, is $10.5 million. That amount includes building new wings to hold more students at Citrus Elementary School in Vero Beach and Treasure Coast Elementary in Sebastian, and making renovations to Dodgertown Elementary over a five-year period.
There is no question Osceola Magnet School needs to move out of its current structure. Relocating to the existing structure would save the district about $9.5 million, Ms. Adams said.
Dodgertown Elementary has the lowest student population of all county schools The population has been declining each year since 2006, district staff said.
If the board were to choose that option, it would require district-wide rezoning to place the current students at Dodgertown Elementary to other elementary schools, but would allow Osceola Magnet School to stay as a magnet school.
Going to Dodgertown Elementary would allow for the quickest move, with district staff projecting a move as quickly as summer 2012.
The Pointe West negotiations have come to a total estimated cost of $20,267,000, which includes storm water retention and a loan to be paid off over a 20-year period.
Moving to the Pointe West location would mean agreeing to allow some preference and student access to students from the Pointe West community, something school board member Karen Disney-Brombach has said she would not support.
Doing so would subvert the purpose and function of having a magnet school, she said.
Additional funds for storm-water retention are not projected in the cost for building a school site at Waterway Village, but would still include a 20-year debt service. The total estimated cost for construction at Waterway Village is $20 million.
If Osceola Magnet School was moved to that location, it would retain its magnet school structure, staff said.
Both construction options would mean not moving Osceola Magnet School until 2013.
For more information about upcoming school board meetings, visit www.indianriverschools.org.