January 20, 2022

New school coming to Babcock Ranch will double as storm shelter

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Samantha Serbin
8:50 PM EST, Wed January 19, 2022

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. – “It has to be ready for the Fall.” That’s the message Principal Shannon Treece has as a new high school is under construction in the Babcock Ranch community.

Educators and parents in Charlotte County are ready for the school to open in the Fall. It’s not only a school, it’s a place the public can go during a severe weather event. The high school cafeteria will double as a storm shelter.

From the roof of the existing Babcock Neighborhood School, you can see construction moving quickly on the two buildings.

“It’s a state-of-the-art facility,” Treece said.

The high school will provide a separate place for students in grades 9-12, and it has been designed with them in mind.

“It’s full of innovative spaces where students can collaborate. It’s very open,” Treece said. “We also have a maker’s space designed to support our STEM work that we’re also doing with our students.”

The addition is expected to double the student body altogether. Right now, the neighborhood school has roughly 600 students and the high school can host 650 more.

“We have students enrolling in our school constantly and when we realized it really wasn’t slowing down we did have to make some decisions in our master plan on what we were going to build,” Treece said.

The new construction isn’t only for students though. It’s a community-wide benefit.

“This is actually the storm shelter, the regional storm shelter that is coming online this summer into fall,” she said. “If you’ve watched anything about Babcock Ranch, they do things fast and they really respond to what the need is. We know that there’s a potential for it to get pushed based on needs and supply chain concerns, we have to be flexible. But the goal is by the end of July to have both projects pretty well completed.”

The goal is to be done and open by the 2022-2023 school year.