With the first phase of a $32 million overhaul of Zephyrhills High School under way, the Pasco County school district is preparing to launch the rest of the project.
A new 17-classroom addition should be completed in time for classes in the fall, easing the crowding crunch on campus by creating space for another 500 students.
There’s much more to come, district new construction director Mike Gude told the School Board on Tuesday.
The project will include a new front entrance, added safety and security enhancements, upgraded technology, and modern science labs and career-technical program classrooms, as well as updated air conditioning, sprinkler systems and more.
When completed, Zephyrhills should be “the equivalent of a new school,” architect Peter Hepner told the board.
The project will take place over at least two years, and be conducted in phases, similar to the one that’s being finished at Land O’Lakes High School, which was designed by the same architect in the 1970s.
Other parts of the Penny for Pasco-funded initiative include a new courtyard, renovated cafeteria, and an updated media center with an entrance on a remodeled commons area.
Because of lessons learned during the Land O’Lakes project, Hepner said, the effort should go even more smoothly, and “students and teachers shouldn’t even know that construction is happening around them.”
School Board vice chairwoman Colleen Beaudoin, whose son attends Land O’Lakes, recalled that many parents raised concerns about the possibility of disruptions during the project. Land O’Lakes parents rejected the idea of closing the campus during construction and relocating students, which would have saved time but damaged school culture in their view.
Since that decision, Beaudoin said, she had heard no complaints and only compliments. She said she expected the same for Zephyrhills.
To explain the details, the district will hold a parent meeting at Zephyrhills High at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday May 22). Officials plan to make a presentation and ask questions.