Final vote approves plan to relieve overcrowding at West Orange High School

Jeff McAdam brings you an update on the relief school vote in Orange County.
Jeff McAdam brings you an update on the relief school vote in Orange County.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – In a unanimous vote, the Board of County Commissioners approved a plan to move forward with a school to relieve overcrowding at West Orange High School.

The new high school will be located near Ficquette Road and CR 535 in West Wendermere.

There were three proposed zoning maps under consideration, which take into account enrollment projections, demographics, free and reduced meals, FCAT levels, English-Language Learners and Exceptional Student Education.

Those who support the building of the relief school walked into Tuesday's meeting thinking the plan was a done deal, but residents who lived near the proposed site voiced their concern.

"There will be added congestion and traffic," one said.

"It's so close to my home," another added. He also mentioned that he moved into his neighborhood, within blocks of the proposed school, years before this plan originated.

Back on April 7, the board approved a number of concessions hoping to alleviate concern from local residents. Those concessions included building a decorative fence along 535, erecting an 8-foot wall along the property border with residents, adding trees between the homes and schools, and moving a stadium off site.

As Tuesday's meeting progressed, 35 public figures voiced their opinions on the school, some for, others against.

"I was nervous," said one parent who supports the plan. "They had good arguments and the commissioners were talking very specific details."

With the approval, the commissioners did impose several conditions including restricting where portable classrooms could be used and placed, forbidding bleachers and limiting signage in the area.

Representatives from the School Choice Office briefed the school board on survey results that indicated a strong growing interest in magnet programs across the district. Staff presented areas of expansion for magnet program and academies. You can see the details below.