BRADENTON -- The Manatee School Board approved a tentative capital improvements plan Tuesday that includes a new $75 million high school in the next five years.
The 225,000-square-foot high school would have a capacity for 1,800 students.
"It's very tentative," Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Roberts said.
A new high school has been discussed for a few years for the Manatee County School District, but the district has not had the funding to build new schools and the process of choosing the best location is tedious. The district is working with a company on a long-range planning process to better define needs within the county.
As it stands, high schools
are the only level of education where the district can claim to be over capacity.
Some individual middle and elementary schools are overcrowded, too, but there is room in existing schools for those students now. Redistricting could alleviate over crowding in those schools.
The five-year plan also includes other capital projects -- maintenance, repair and renovations that will be done to existing schools in the next five year. The five-year plan is a state requirement, and has to be a balanced fiscal plan. The five-year plan indicates the new high school is not yet funded by any particular source.
"We estimate that we might have a need that far out," Roberts said. "Right now, there's no funding for it."
No location or specific type of high school has been finalized either, although board members have started to toss around ideas. Board Chairman Bob Gause has proposed an honors high school focused on academics such as science and math and devoid of sports programs. The idea would provide an outlet for academically-minded students, Gause said, and relieve the district of the cost of building new stadiums and fields.
The capital improvement plan was approved Tuesday on the consent agenda without discussion by the board.
A long-range planning company will meet with the public for the first time Thursday at Manatee Technical College's campus on State Road 70. The two-hour meeting includes about an hour presentation from Ohio-based DeJong Richter and will include some audience participation.
The purpose of the long-range facility plan is to prepare for the growth in students population during the next 10 years. The plan will help determine if and where new schools may need to be built and which existing school buildings and support sites the school district should keep, modernize, replace, reconfigure or repurpose, district officials said.
"This is more than where do you put more schools or where should schools be located. The future of education is changing," Manatee County Schools Superintendent Diana Greene said.
Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.