26, Aug 2023
New Polk School Built in 9 Months, and on Budget
Haines City, FL, August 26, 2023 — In July 2023, a public-private partnership between Polk County Schools, Building Tomorrow’s Schools, and Public School Development Solutions delivered on a dream project— completing a brand-new public-school facility on time, efficiently, and at a significantly lower cost while utilizing local sub-contractors— benefitting students, taxpayers, and the community.
As one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S., Polk County needed to build new schools, and fast. As Polk County School Superintendent Frederick Heid and the School Board searched for ways to quickly expand student capacity without further burdening taxpayers, they found a solution in a public-private partnership.
Polk County School Board under the leadership of Superintendent Fred Heid, unanimously approved the building of Scenic Terrace K-8 in partnership with Building Tomorrow’s Schools (BTS), a Florida non-profit organization created to assist public schools in producing new facilities as they grapple with rising costs and accelerated timelines. Taking an innovative approach to new public facilities construction, the Polk School District in collaboration with BTS were able to develop the Scenic Terrace K-8 school project, a new state-of-the-art K-8 campus which can serve 1,602 children, their teachers and support staff. Bringing an additional educational option to the rapidly growing population and enrollment needs in the area. The prototype was designed by an industry leading Architect, Rene Tercilla of Harvard Jolly, utilizing state of the art and district standard specifications. “I’m very proud of what we’ve been doing in school finance to maximize our return on investment,” explains Frederick Heid, Superintendent Polk County Public Schools.
According to Superintendent Heid: “We were able to participate in the design process to ensure that everything is up to our high-quality standards while saving money. I’ve been very excited to see this innovative approach pay off for our school system.”
Florida school districts are continually challenged to navigate population changes and educational needs while being mindful of budgets and taxpayer responsibilities. Polk leaders have implemented an innovative practice to meet that challenge while addressing constituent needs and limiting risk, an innovative solution other Florida school districts may wish to consider, particularly in high-growth areas.
On August 10, 2023, the students, teachers, and support staff of Scenic Terrace K-8 embarked on their year in their new facility. This wouldn’t have been possible without the collaborative efforts of Superintendent Frederick Heid and BTS.