August 08, 2022

Babcock Ranch to open new high school

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Charter school a high-tech ‘living lab’ along with other twists on traditional education

  • By DANIEL SUTPHIN Staff Writer


babcock high school
Babcock High School officially opens Monday on the education campus at Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County along State Road 31.RENDERING PROVIDED

BABCOCK RANCH — Babcock High School officially opens Monday.

Until this school year, Babcock Neighborhood School taught students in kindergarten through eighth grade in the school’s main building, 43301 Cypress Parkway, with high school classes held in portable classrooms.

The new high school is located on the same campus. Construction started in July 2021.

The Babcock Ranch community stretches along State Road 31 in Charlotte County near the borderlines of DeSoto and Lee counties.

“We’re excited to give our high school students a beautiful, innovative environment in this new building they can make their own,” Shannon Treece, Babcock Ranch elementary school principal, said in a news release.

“Many of the students have been with us since day one,” Treece said. “This space not only symbolizes our bright future ahead, but the possibilities and dreams that will be fostered for the next generation of leaders.”

Treece was recently named executive director for the charter school system in Babcock Ranch, which falls within the Charlotte County Public Schools district.

Charter schools receive taxpayer money but have more autonomy than regular public schools.

The new high school is a two-story, 45,889-square-foot building.

Babcock representatives plan to move students in grades six through 11 to the new building.

Amanda Sanford will serve as the high school’s first principal. Grade 12 will be added during the 2023-24 academic year.

“For students and staff, it’s very fitting that the mascot of Babcock High School is the Trailblazers,” Sanford said. “I’m looking forward to them taking ownership of this school and creating a culture of school spirit.”

The new school has a capacity of 650 students, with 26 classrooms, a “Main Street hallway, a collaborative lobby and over 3,000 square feet of adaptable learning spaces,” according to the new release.

Instead of an assigned homeroom for students, representatives said teachers work from two centrally located “hives” overlooking student workspaces in an open two-story assembly area.

Those quads can then be reconfigured to four smaller classrooms with large-screen monitors and sound systems.
Babcock High School will provide tablets for every student, a PC computer lab supporting instruction in coding and cybersecurity, and a media room equipped with a green screen and Mac computer workstations for graphic design and video production.

As part of the computer lab, an on-demand IT service desk will be available to provide help for students.

The school’s art room, called a “Make Tank,” provides more than 2,000 square feet of creative space with a kiln and an expansive patio.

The Make Tank was also designed to provide an environment that provides a variety of tools for students ranging from woodworking to 3-D printing.

“Babcock High School represents the school of tomorrow for the community of tomorrow,” said Syd Kitson, Kitson & Partners CEO and developer of Babcock Ranch.

“We put so much thought into creating spaces complementing the project-based learning curriculum and how students work and learn best as well as sourcing environmentally friendly building materials,” Kitson said. “The schools use Babcock Ranch as a living lab, with many lessons focusing on its sustainability and role as America’s first solar-powered hometown.”

In the news release, representatives said the new high school will serve a growing population of students from Babcock Ranch.

Builders recently completed more than 1,800 new homes in the region.

The K-6 Babcock Neighborhood School opened for the 2017-18 school year, adding a grade level each year as students progressed through the system.

“We had about 600 kids at the start of the 2021-22 school year, and this year we’re starting at the 800-student mark,” said Jennifer Languell, a neighborhood school board member.