December 13, 2016

Babcock Ranch breaks ground for charter school

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

PAMELA McCABE , PMCCABE@NEWS-PRESS.COM5:06 p.m. EST December 12, 2016

babcock ranch students

A  groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday at the site of the future Babcock Neighborhood School, a K-through-eight charter in the solar-powered eco-city.The blended residential and business development is being built just north of the Lee-Charlotte county line, near State Road 31. Although the school will sit on the Charlotte side of the property, state law allows students in other counties to attend as long as seats are available.

The school is set to open next fall, and the grade levels offered will be based on the need of its future students, meaning it will only extend through the eighth grade if older students show interest in applying.

More than 50 students submitted enrollment applications to the school since Thanksgiving, with the groundbreaking attracting submissions throughout the afternoon, explained Lisa Hall, a spokeswoman for the property who represents Hall Media Strategies.

The largest number of applications have come for kindergarten-aged children, with 28 applications being submitted for grades K-through-three. The rest are spread out among the other grade levels, showing a “pretty good mix” of interest, Hall said.

Interest has been strong on both sides of the county line, with at least 22 students from Lee sending in applications.

Some of these prospective students — and their families — took part in Monday’s event. Hall explained that these children were invited to use gardening tools to turn the soil of what would become herb and butterfly gardens for the school.

This fits into the sustainable lifestyle of the town, which will start seeing residents move into Babcock’s first homes after the New Year.

babcock ranch students

“We have celebrated a lot of ‘firsts’ over the past year, but perhaps none more personally meaningful and gratifying to me as what we are doing today,” offered Syd Kitson, chair and CEO of Kitson & Partners in a news statement. “Babcock Neighborhood School realizes our vision of putting world-class education right at the heart of our new town — within walking distance for our earliest residents and in easy reach of our neighbors.”