OCPS plans to open two new schools around the same time

OCPS plans to open two new schools around the same time

WINDERMERE, Fla. — For the first time in a decade, Orange County Public Schools plans to build and open two new high schools around the same time to make room for more students.

Doctor Phillips, Freedom and Windermere high schools are each hundreds of students over capacity—and the number is only expected to increase.

“Every classroom I’ve been to, there’s no empty seats,” said Olivia Tice, a student.

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Next year, OCPS plans to start building two new high schools in the southwest part of the county. The plan is to relieve the three overcrowded schools.

“Where we’re seeing redevelopment happen, it’s a little harder to find land,” said Pam Gould, an Orange County School Board member.

Luckily, Gould said the district has already purchased or set aside some land for new campuses. She said all the construction comes with challenges.

“There’s just a lot of building. I do worry sometimes about supply and demand of construction materials as well as workforce,” she said.

Each of the new campuses is expected to cost around $115 million.

While building schools has become routine here, opening two new high schools at the same time only happens about once every decade. The last time that happened was in 2009.

Windermere High School is already 600 students over capacity, having opened last school year, and will soon start using portable classrooms.