November 28, 2016

Babcock neighborhood school accepting applications for 2017-2018

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

BABCOCK RANCH — Master Developer Kitson & Partners announced that the Babcock Neighborhood School (BNS) that will open next fall in the town of Babcock Ranch is now accepting K-8 applications for the 2017-2018 school year. Babcock Ranch is a new 18,000-acre eco-centric, solar powered town being developed by Kitson east of Fort Myers, off State Road 31 in Charlotte County.

Construction of furnished models in Lake Timber, the first neighborhood to be built at Babcock Ranch, and Phase I of the downtown district is underway and progressing as planned. Situated at the heart of Babcock Ranch, BNS will put world-class K-8 education within walking distance for the children of the town’s earliest settlers.

The first of multiple public schools to be within the town of Babcock Ranch, BNS is a free public charter school open to all students in kindergarten through grade 8 who qualify to attend a public school in Charlotte County. This includes out-of-district students who are allowed to request admission under Florida’s new open enrollment law. There are no other public schools within 10 miles of the Babcock Ranch downtown district. The first residents of Babcock Ranch will begin moving into their new hometown early next year and BNS will be ready to welcome its first students in fall of 2017.

While many charter schools limit enrollment to early grades at start-up and then phase in upper grades, BNS is preparing to serve all grades in its inaugural year. The final determination will be based on student enrollment. Babcock Ranch will eventually be home to more than 19,000 residences and approximately 50,000 people. The town’s master plan provides for multiple neighborhood schools and a central middle and high school campus. Those schools will be added as the population grows.

Kitson & Partners’ vision for public education at Babcock Ranch is to provide a world-class education in an inspiring and healthy environment supported by strong public/private partnerships and community involvement that promotes the highest level of academic achievement, creativity, collaboration, and environmental literacy. BNS offers a “place-based” environmentally focused “greenSTEAM” educational program that integrates science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics within a thoughtfully provided holistic learning environment. STEAM requires intentional connections among and between standards, assessments, and lesson design and implementation and integrates related standards across disciplines, allowing students to demonstrate mastery of subjects.

The sustainability and conservation principles that are the foundation of Babcock Ranch provide opportunities for hands-on, project based learning about nature, health and renewable energy with a STEAM focus. By focusing on local landscape, history, culture and context, learning at BNS will take on specificity and move from the abstract to the concrete, engaging students with their surroundings. BNS fosters physical, mental and emotional growth by providing students with an environment that encourages interactions with and exploration of the world around them.

Kitson has designed Babcock Ranch to be a place that embraces residential neighborhoods, civic, retail, and educational structures, and opportunities to enjoy both the grandeur and subtleties of nature on a daily basis as a cohesive, unified experience rather than as separate parts. Babcock’s 18,000-acre site plan presents the innovative merging of urban and rural constructs.

Kitson has chosen to build the new town on lands previously disturbed by the Babcock family’s timber, mining, and agricultural operations, a decision that will result in a minimal 400-acre footprint. Half of the 18,000-acre site will be preserved in the form of lakes, parks, green spaces, community gardens, forests, and a 50-mile network of nature trails, all of which will be intertwined with the town’s residential neighborhoods and downtown venues. Taken in combination with Babcock’s commitment to clean energy sourced in solar power by day and natural gas by night, the resulting town and country lifestyle afforded by Kitson’s development approach has been heralded as a model for how towns of the future will be developed.

At the same time, Babcock Ranch offers a “living laboratory” for the use of innovative technologies that can combat climate change, including significant advancements toward energy independence that can be modeled throughout the nation. Through a collaboration with Florida Power & Light, state-of-the-art solar facilities will supply the town – and the broader region – with clean, renewable, integrated power. An on-site solar photovoltaic energy facility that includes a 75-megawatt Solar Energy Center situated on more than 400 acres will make Babcock Ranch the world’s first town to use on-site solar generation facilities to produce more clean, renewable energy than it consumes.

Modern “smart grid” digital electric distribution technologies embedded in the town’s infrastructure will optimize energy efficiency and lower utility costs for residents and businesses. In keeping with the town’s emphasis on eco-sensitivity, every residence and commercial structure within Babcock Ranch will be built to Florida Green Building Coalition Certification standards.

Babcock Ranch is also working to become an early adoption site and model for the use of shared autonomous vehicles that will allow individuals to “hail” driverless cars using their personal devices. Teachers and students at BNS will also have immediate access to resources from around the world through Babcock’s high-speed data communications network.

Taken in sum, the “greenSTEAM” educational program at BNS will be positioned to take full advantage of all that the country’s first town to be powered by the sun, innovation, and nature has to offer, a circumstance that will have a profound and positive impact for generations to come. Online at