Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Letter to Land O’ Lakes High and Pine View Middle School Parents
August 16, 2016
Dear Land O’ Lakes High & Pine View Middle School Parents:
Over the last couple of months, district staff has been gathering information on which to base the decision about where to house LOLHS students during the school’s total renovation, scheduled to commence in June 2017. We considered three options:
Option 1: Remain at LOLHS
Option 2: Sunlake double sessions
Option 3: House LOLHS students at High School GGG
Given these options and the pros and cons of each, I had made the decision that the third option, GGG High School, was the option that best meets our criteria. Then, we received the student counts for the first day of the 2016-2017 school year, and everything changed.
Part of the initial plan for moving LOLHS to High School GGG involved rezoning students out of Wiregrass Ranch High School to get them off of the 10-period school days that began last school year. Yesterday, the school that was built for 1,633 students had 2,478 students show up. That number likely will continue to grow over the next few days. And the middle school that feeds into WRHS – John Long Middle School, with a capacity for 1,327 students – welcomed 1,810 students. Both schools saw more students on the first day than we projected for the whole year, as did others in the Land O’ Lakes/Wesley Chapel areas.
Without getting into every detail, the higher-than-expected enrollment numbers created problems that would affect multiple communities. Adjusting for all of the factors, coupled with the cost associated with moving LOLHS and other students onto the High School GGG campus, I have reconsidered. I now believe that the least disruptive solution is to keep students at Land O’ Lakes High School during the renovations.
Although we determined that this is the best among the options that we had to consider, it still will not be ideal.
Keeping LOLHS open while these renovations are taking place will delay completion of the project by a year and reduce the scope of work to account for the added cost of extending the one-year project to two years. The school will be a construction zone and we will have to place dozens of portable classrooms on and around the campus. We won’t have practice fields and will reduce the number of parking spaces. There will be utility disruptions and construction dust.
On the bright side, all LOLHS students will remain together on one campus. Culinary students will still be able to use their beautiful culinary academy. Agriculture students will be on the same campus as their animals. Sporting events will take place at the school. The school will remain in Land O’ Lakes. We will take every precaution to ensure that the construction project does not impact student safety.
This decision was not made lightly and was not made without significant input from staff. We will schedule a parent meeting to discuss all of the details later this fall. Meanwhile, we will post updates on the school renovations web page: http://www.pasco.k12.fl.us/renovations and on and the district’s social media sites, and Land O’ Lakes High School will keep parents informed on their website and social media sites.
If we all work together as a team, we can make this a positive experience. In the end, we will have a beautifully renovated, practically new high school.
Kurt S. Browning
Superintendent of Schools