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5 schools for New Tampa on district's drawing board

(ran PC edition of PT)

School officials are trying to keep up with the population growth in New Tampa by buying land and planning school designs for land they already have purchased.

This year, the school district hopes to secure land for three schools while it advances plans for two more, all in New Tampa, said Joseph Trumbach, the school district's director of administration.

The school district already owns the land for two elementary schools and is negotiating with two developers to secure land for the other three. The two elementary schools will be built on Kinnan Street in Cross Creek and on Tampa Palms Boulevard, near Palm Springs Boulevard.

Construction is likely to begin only at the Kinnan Street school this year, Trumbach said.

Trumbach said the school district is "close to securing" a site for still another elementary school in the Heritage Isles/East Meadows development as part of the city of Tampa's annexation of the land.

Separately, he said he is negotiating with two separate developers to build a high school and middle school on the same plot of land, Trumbach said. One of the deals would put the schools on a plot of land owned by Lennar Homes Inc.; the other negotiation is with a developer that does not want its name or potential school site disclosed unless a deal is made.

If the Lennar deal goes through, the campus would be in Tampa Palms north of the junction of Interstate 75 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Trumbach said these schools could be ready to open by August 2002.

The new schools will be financed by state money and the local Community Investment Tax.

School officials are trying to ensure that Wharton High doesn't go on double sessions in coming years. "We certainly are doing everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen," Trumbach said.

A new high school, middle school and two of the elementary schools are included in the school district's five-year building plan. The East Meadows school would be built after that, Trumbach said.

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