49ºF

Parents confront leaders over stadium delay

West Orange relief school stadium may not be ready for 2017 school year

WINDERMERE, Fla. – Tempers flared Wednesday night as a roomful of parents confronted school and county leaders over a delay in building a new high school football stadium.

Parent Julie Sadlier rallied parents together for the meeting after she said she found out the stadium, which was slated to be built in tandem with the new relief high school in Orange County, would be delayed by at least four months.

"We have fought for three years for this, and they deserve better," Sadlier said.

Parents and Orange County Public Schools battled with property owners and dodged lawsuits for many years, finally compromising on a plan that would see the relief high school built on a parcel of land at the intersection of Fiquette Road and State Road 535.

The stadium would be built more than one mile away along Fiquette Road.

Monday morning, Sadlier said a school official told her the stadium wouldn't be open for the new school's first football team next year.

"It was the straw that broke the camel's back. We have all waited. We've all patiently worked with the community. We want to work together, but today was the final straw," she said.

Some parents questioned the safety of the new stadium.

"They're putting up a stadium, but it has very few parking spaces, so if there was lightning and everybody had to run to their cars, there's not enough places to go and run," parent Christine Crenshaw said.

Orange County Commissioner Scott Boyd took the brunt of the parents' anger Wednesday night when he told them cost overruns were causing the delay. He said the county commissioners and OCPS were trying to figure out who would pay what.

"I would love to see it constructed and open by the time the first game kicks off, but if it's not, we're going to work with them to make sure they at least have something going on the home field," Boyd told News 6.

The relief high school in West Orange County is slated to open for the 2017-2018 school year. 


About the Author: