At its meeting on October 16, the Pasco County School Board approved a contract for Ajax Building Corporation to begin construction on Cypress Creek Middle School.

The school site is located adjacent to the current Cypress Creek Middle High School on Old Pasco Rd.

Construction is expected to be completed by June 2020, and the school will open to new students in grades six through eight that fall for the 2020-21 school year.

When Cypress Creek Middle opens, the current Cypress Creek Middle High will be converted to a high school only. That school’s younger students will transfer to the new middle school campus next door.

Mike Gude is director of construction services and code compliance for Pasco County Schools. He says the school is being built with the continuing growth of Wesley Chapel in mind.

“There will be 1,600 student seats,” he says of Cypress Creek Middle School. “That is larger than the middle schools we’ve built in the past because of the area it’s in.”

The school will include a three-story classroom building of nearly 80,000 square feet, plus a multi-purpose building of more than 55,000 square feet, a 24,000-square-foot gymnasium, and a two-story administration building of 33,0000 square feet.

“In addition to typical school spaces,” Gude says, “the fine arts wing will include not only band and music and chorus rooms, but there will also be a small black box theatre that will be for students to learn performing arts and technical aspects like lighting and theatre rigging.”

Cypress Creek Middle School will cost $40 million to build.

While the school site is adjacent to Cypress Creek Middle High, Gude says the construction won’t affect those students.

“We won’t even use the entrance to the existing school,” he says. “We’ll come onto the construction site from a different entrance.”

Pasco County Schools has worked with the Oldsmar-based Ajax Building Corporation before. Gude says the last school they constructed was Sanders Memorial Elementary in Land O’Lakes, which was completed in 2015.

Pasco County Schools doesn’t typically do groundbreaking ceremonies, but a dedication ceremony will be held once the school has been completed.

Pasco Employees, Buses Help With Hurricane Recovery
After Hurricane Michael devastated Florida’s panhandle on October 16, employees from Pasco County Schools stepped in to do what they could to help.

The district gave 20 buses (photo) to the Bay County school district, which includes Panama City.

On November 1, school bus drivers from Bay District Schools traveled to Pasco County, where they each drove a bus back to Bay County.

Pasco’s Superintendent of Schools Kurt Browning was on hand to welcome the bus drivers. He thanked employees who collected donations to fill one of the buses with supplies for the people of the area, such as bottled water.

In addition, Pasco County Schools sent 21 maintenance employees to Bay District Schools for a week of work to prepare the schools that reopened on Nov. 12.

The crew, which left on Nov. 3, included laborers and experts in site development, tree trimming/heavy equipment, electricity, HVAC, carpentry, plumbing, and mechanics.

“I can’t imagine what our colleagues are going through in the Panhandle, and we just wanted to give them the same kind of support I know they would give to us if we were in the same situation,” said Browning.

It appears at least some of those affected by Hurricane Michael have taken notice.

“You all are awesome,” posted Susan Holt Stanley on Facebook. “Thank you so much for all your county has done to help us in the Panhandle.”

Another Facebook user, Kellie Banks, posted, “I have a child in Pasco County Schools and a child in Bay District Schools. I can’t begin to express the gratitude of how much compassion and help I’ve seen from Pasco to my hometown of Bay County.”

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