Controversial Windermere High School makes its public debut

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Public Schools will host an open house Wednesday to invite the public to tour the new Windermere High School.

The school, which is on Winter Garden Vineland Road near Windermere, was constructed to alleviate overcrowding at West Orange High School near Winter Garden.

The school has a capacity for 2,700 students, but it will start off with 2,000 students because it won't have a senior class its first year.

It took 18 months to build -- six months fewer than what is typical for a school that size. But its construction didn't come without controversy.

Principal Doug Guthrie said he hopes to alleviate at least some of those concerns.

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"We are going to be a good neighbor," Guthrie said. "We are going to be a part of the community. We are going to take care of this property."

Residents Dan Przekop and Barbara Przekop, who were walking their 2-year-old grandson near the school Tuesday, said they've watched the school's construction since the land was cleared.

The couple called the new school a positive step for the community.

"(It's going to be a) better school, which is great for the neighborhood," Barbara Przekop said. "(It) keeps the kids here. They get to do after school activities and be close to home."

The school district said it hired teachers and faculty from within the district and elsewhere in Florida, including 25 teachers who transferred from West Orange High School.

Construction of the school's football stadium, which is one mile from campus, will be completed in mid-December.

Wednesday's open house is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.