Manatee County has three new schools this year. Here are 10 things you need to know

New Parrish school will focus on families, Harvey says

Barbara A. Harvey celebrated the opening of her namesake elementary school surrounded by more than 250 friends, loved ones and supporters Saturday. The longtime Manatee County educator said the new $28 million Parrish school will focus on families.
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Barbara A. Harvey celebrated the opening of her namesake elementary school surrounded by more than 250 friends, loved ones and supporters Saturday. The longtime Manatee County educator said the new $28 million Parrish school will focus on families.

The School District of Manatee County will open three new schools — Barbara A. Harvey Elementary, Parrish Community High School and Dr. Mona Jain Middle School — on Monday morning.

Here’s what you need to know about the new campuses:

How much did they cost?

While the budget for Dr. Mona Jain Middle School remained at $45 million from start to finish, the cost of Manatee’s other projects rose by several million dollars each.

Parrish Community High School had the most dramatic shift, from $80 million to $90 million over a nine-month period. Jane Dreger, director of construction services for the district, addressed the increase during a recent construction update, presented to the school board on May 14.

The district based its original estimate on the cost of building Braden River High School in 2005, attempting to adjust for inflation, she said. The design also expanded between the budget approval in February 2017 and the final design approval in November 2017.

Barbara Harvey Elementary School had a similar increase in its budget, which spiked from $20 million to $28 million between June 2017 and May 2018.

In a memo to the school board, former Superintendent Diana Greene outlined five reasons for the budget increase. She said the campus was built as a hurricane shelter, and she cited the cost of skilled labor, metal tariffs, traffic signals and — at the request of Copperstone residents — the relocation of a playground.

School board members and dignitaries ceremonially throw dirt at the groundbreaking for a new middle school named for Mona Jain which took place Friday afternoon. Tiffany Tompkins

How big are the campuses?

Barbara A. Harvey Elementary School is situated on 20 acres at the corner of Moccasin Wallow Road and 115th Avenue East, in Parrish.

The school is a short distance north of Parrish Community High School, which sits on 98 acres at the corner of Martha Road and Erie Road. Both campuses are adjacent to U.S. 301.

Dr. Mona Jain Middle School encompasses 27 acres in Lakewood Ranch, near 44th Avenue East and White Eagle Boulevard. The campus is adjacent to B.D. Gullet Elementary School.

How many students will attend the new schools?

All together, the new schools could accept about 4,150 students.

Barbara A. Harvey Elementary has the capacity for nearly 840 students, while Dr. Mona Jain Middle School will hold approximately 1,160 students.

Parrish Community High School won’t reach its capacity of 2,150 students for several years. The school opens to students in ninth and 10th grade on Monday, and the campus will add another grade each year for two years.

Who are the principals?

Craig Little, the principal at Lakewood Ranch High School since 2014, will now head Parrish Community High School. Little started his career as a physical education teacher in 2001, and he later spent time as an assistant principal at Carlos E. Haile Middle, Johnson Middle and Lakewood Ranch High.

Angela Lindsey, the principal at Johnson Middle School of International Studies since 2015, will now oversee Dr. Mona Jain Middle School. Lindsey started as a math teacher at W.D. Sugg Middle School in 1986.

She later worked as an assistant principal at Haile Middle and Johnson Middle, and as a principal at Blanche H. Daughtrey Elementary.

Hayley Rio, the principal at Braden River Elementary for nearly a decade, will now lead Barbara A. Harvey Elementary. She also worked as an assistant principal at Robert. H. Prine Elementary and Virgil Mills Elementary during her 14 years in the school district.

Manatee County School Board members joined Principal Craig Little for the ribbon cutting at the new Parrish Community High School. Tiffany Tompkins

Are the campuses different than past schools?

In response to a reporter’s inquiry, the school district listed several design considerations for the new schools:

  • Enhanced media centers.
  • Heightened security features, including single-point entries and expanded surveillance systems.
  • Modern technology for students’ education and the building itself, including phones, cameras, lighting and HVAC — heating, ventilation and air conditioning — controls.
  • Rooms that emphasize interaction and collaboration among students. “Nearly all furniture is mobile to allow for multiple uses and classroom configurations, to accommodate varied teaching and learning styles,” district spokesman Mike Barber said in an email.

When was the last time a new school opened?

Barbara A. Harvey Elementary is the first elementary campus to open since Rogers Garden-Bullock launched in 2009.

Dr. Mona Jain Middle School is the first middle school to open since Buffalo Creek emerged in 2007, while Parrish Community High School is the first new high school since Braden River opened in 2005.

The school district is no stranger to opening multiple schools in the same year. Most recently, it opened Annie Lucy Williams Elementary, B.D. Gullett Elementary and Buffalo Creek Middle in 2007.

Are the schools fully staffed?

“At this time, the new schools are essentially fully staffed, with fewer than five to 10 vacancies to be filled per school,” said Barber, the district spokesman.

Were the schools designed as hurricane shelters?

The district constructed Barbara Harvey Elementary School as a shelter, officially known as an Enhanced Hurricane Protection Area (EHPA). The building could shelter nearly 2,000 residents during a storm.

Barbara A. Harvey Elementary, 8610 115th Ave. E., Parrish, is a $28 million, state-of-the-art school that will officially open Aug. 12. The school has more than 830 stations for students. Ryan Callihan

Do the schools offer unique programs or classes?

During its groundbreaking in 2017, Parrish Community High School was described as “workforce ready.”

District officials said it would be the first high school in Manatee County to have an automotive tech academy. The campus also features a barn for agriculture, along with facilities for TV broadcasting, engineering and health programs.

For the robotics lab, SchenkelShultz Architecture used an existing design from a high school in the Orlando area.

How were they named?

Barbara A. Harvey served the community for more than five decades as a teacher, principal and district administrator. She spent more than 15 years as a member of the Manatee County School Board, and she went on to form Educational Consultants Consortium Inc., a nonprofit organization that links students, families and community resources.

Harvey, the namesake for Manatee County’s newest elementary school, has devoted much of her time to the United Negro College Fund, and to the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, which strives for “service to all mankind.”

“I think Barbara Harvey is magnetic; I can’t think of a better word,” school board vice chair Gina Messenger has said. “Any time I’ve seen her, there’s a glow. If you watch a video of her you get a tingly feeling.”

Barbara Harvey
State Rep. Wengay Newton, left, celebrates alongside Barbara Harvey after the School Board of Manatee County unanimously voted to name a new school in her honor. Giuseppe Sabella

Mona Jain, a lifetime educator, scholar and public servant, is the inspiration behind Manatee’s newest middle school. Much like Harvey, she is an advocate for diversity and equity in the classroom.

“Dr. Mohinder ‘Mona’ Jain has earned doctorate degrees in both the arts and in the sciences,” board member James Golden recently said. “She is a world-renowned educator who has taught in three continents. She is a human rights activist, second to none. She is a loving wife and a devoted mother.”

Parrish Community High School is dedicated not to a person, but a community. The school board originally voted to name the campus North River High School in August 2017, but it voted 4-1 to change the name in February, under pressure from hundreds of Parrish residents.

The school board had to rent space in the Bradenton Area Convention Center for its Feb. 26 meeting, when more than a dozen people spoke in favor of renaming the campus.

In this Manatee County School District video longtime Manatee County resident Barbara Harvey talks about her life. She served as a teacher, Principal, Executive Director of Elementary Education and School Board Member

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