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Experimental grade school expected on USF campus

Published Oct. 9, 2005

Educators from the Hillsborough County schools and the University of South Florida, who have long dreamed of establishing an experimental elementary school on the USF campus, are expected to announce plans for the joint venture at a news conference today.

A committee of educators and administrators recently recommended that USF allow the school to be established on the university's Tampa campus.

Gerry Meisels, provost in charge of academic affairs, was preparing to send a report and recommendation to USF President Frank Borkowski. Today, USF officials are expected to announce that they have agreed to provide the land and curriculum for the school and to use it as a training site for teachers-to-be in the USF College of Education.

The experimental school would be a joint venture among USF, the Hillsborough schools and the Museum of Science and Industry, which is across the street from the university.

"I'm very delighted that President Borkowski is allowing this to happen," said William Katzenmeyer, dean of the USF College of Education. "This is a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how these three units in our society can work together to improve the schools."

Katzenmeyer said MOSI's involvement provides "a particular opportunity for collaboration" and added that the school could have a particular focus on the teaching of science.

The school would be expected to open in the spring 1995.

For several years, Hillsborough school administrators and some USF officials have dreamed of building such a school, but the plan lacked one essential ingredient: support from Borkowski. He questioned whether the school would be an appropriate long-term use for university land.

With the clear signal of support from the committee, which convened at Borkowski's request, the project appears to have the green light.

Late last year when he asked Meisels to organize a committee to study the issue, Borkowski said he was "open to consider this option if . . . a negotiated affiliation agreement might provide sufficient benefits to justify dedication of university land."