It may not have been as awe-inspiring as the groundbreaking of the Crystal Lagoon® amenity in Epperson, but the latest addition to the Connected City project in Wesley Chapel may be even more important.
Innovation Preparatory Academy, or InPrep, a charter school located on Curley Rd. just north of the Epperson community and promising to focus on the latest in technology and innovation, broke ground on Feb. 19, is expected to open in the fall.
The school is a public-private partnership between Epperson/Connected City developer Metro Development, Charter Schools USA (which will operate the school), Red Apple Development (which will develop and construct the facility) and the Pasco County School District.
InPrep will initially be a K-6 school, but will expand over the next two years to K-8, enrolling up to 765 students, says Metro Development Group president Greg Singleton.
It will be the second charter school developed for a Metro property in Wesley Chapel; the first is Union Park Academy in Metro’s Union Park development off Meadow Pointe Blvd.
“This one is going to be like that one, but on steroids,” Singleton said. “The goal is to make (InPrep) one of the best educational facilities in this particular region. We’re super excited about that.”
According to its website, InPrep’s curriculum will be based on the “WISH” model — Wellness, Innovation, Science and Health. The school also intends to offer the Cambridge Program (designed by England’s University of Cambridge) for its gifted and higher-achieving students.
Technology will be a major driver at the school. Metro’s ULTRAFI technology, which offers 1-Gigabit speed internet, is central to the Connected City’s Smart Gigabit Community concept, and Singleton said hat will help InPrep instantly become one of the most advanced schools in the area.
Pasco School Board member Alan Altman praised the partnership, saying it yields more choices for area parents that weren’t available when he joined the school board 13 years ago.
He mentioned the recent naming of the Kirkland Ranch Academy of Innovation high school — also on Curley Rd., just north of the InPrep site — that will open in 2022, as well as the Pinecrest Academy charter school in Avalon Park Wesley Chapel (see pg. 6) opening in the fall.
“Neighborhoods can send kids to any kind of school they want to with any kind of curriculum, and that is rare,” Altman said. “The families and the citizens of this community will benefit for years to come.”