The School Board of Manatee County has closed on a $2.3 million parcel of land for a new high school in the north side of the county in mid-December, according to the latest Manatee County property transfer report, which was released Wednesday.
The newly purchased 48-acre parcel had been used as a commercial greenhouse operation near the intersection of Martha and Eerie roads in Parrish. The board purchased the acreage from Aris Horticulture Inc., an Ohio-based floral growing and research company.
The land is adjacent to another 48-acre parcel the district purchased in 2005 with plans to build either an elementary or middle school on the property.
The land will be the site of a two-story brick building capable of holding 2,100 students when it opens in August 2019, and can be expanded if the population continues to rise, according to school board documents. The board has budgeted $80 million for the project and is hoping to break ground on the project in July 2017. The Aris land and its buildings were assessed at approximately $1.6 million last spring, according to the county.
A new high school north of the river was declared a major priority during an analysis of the district’s enrollment last spring by the Ohio-based DeJong-Richter, a consulting firm hired by the board.
The school board will hold a town hall meeting in February to get community input on the new building, which is intended to ease crowding at Palmetto, Lakewood Ranch and Braden River high schools.