Overcrowding is a constant struggle for growing school districts.
- It's hoped that three new schools will help with overcrowding in Orange County
- Parents are happy the new schools are closer to home
- According to project list, 30 more new or renovated schools are planned
On one hand, more students means an area is growing.
On the other hand …
“My kids were in portables almost every single year they were there,” said Sherry Loiselle, a parent who lives a few blocks from the new Wedgefield School.
“The neighborhood needed it. We needed a school closer to us,” another parent, Luz Miranda, said.
With thousands of new students, three new schools will help to ease the growing pains in Orange County.
It’s safe to say Miranda and her children are excited about their new school.
“The school they were previously come from, it was crowded. It was over the amount of kids that needed to be there and it was distant. It was distant and whenever Colonial Drive gets a traffic jam, the kids could take an hour, an hour and a half to get home,” Miranda recalled.
“It’s a project we’ve worked on for 10 years to bring a wonderful K-8 school to the Wedgefield community. We’re going to have over 800 children here on the first day of school,” said Joie Cadle, who represents District 1 on the Orange County School Board.
“Now we’re going to be actually riding our bikes, and we’re pretty excited that it’s right down the street, and we can ride our bikes and get to school and have some exercise at the same time,” said Sherry Loiselle, a parent who lives a few blocks from the new Wedgefield School.
Wedgefield is just one of the seven new or fully renovated school set to open in Orange County on Aug. 15.
Parents are happy to have a new school to help with the overcrowding issue in Orange County. (John W. Davis, staff)
Other new schools will open in the Horizons West and Millenia Gardens areas.
Newly renovated elementary schools include Lockhart, Dream Lake, Riverside and Tangelo Park.
Meanwhile, as the district grows between 3,000 to 5,000 students a year, overcrowding continues to be a delicate balance.
“You can’t build mega schools for today, you project out long-term knowing that you’re going to have additional relief schools built in the coming years and so portables will always be a part of our program,” began Orange County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Jenkins.
“What happens usually is those portables shift as populations grow and bulge through the grade levels. Then the portables shift as well. I know people in high growth areas may not see a day coming where that might happen but folks out on the east side that had significant growth now have no portables so we can’t just build larger schools and try to have no portables, we have to move the portables as the growth shifts and bubbles in different areas,” Jenkins explained.
“I just feel like there’s a lot more options here now that the kids are where they’re supposed to be and just a lot more opportunities for them,” Loiselle added.
“Amazing, it’s like a dream come true. The kids were excited and as parents we look for the best education for them and this is what they get to have, a beautiful school brand-new with all the technology and everything they deserve to get better in life and close to home,” Miranda concluded.
According to the Orange County Public Schools project list, more than 30 relief and newly renovated schools are set to open over the next three years.