Groundbreaking for new Collier County high school

Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) broke ground on an innovative new high school Monday.

The project will extend Veterans Memorial Boulevard from Livingston Road directly to the yet-unnamed school, currently referred to as “GGG” until it’s officially named. By the time the school opens in August 2023, it will have been 19 years since CCPS opened a new high school.

The school will include a brand-new performing arts center, where students can take part in theater, cheerleading practice and other activities, or it can be used as a professional learning center. It will also have a Genius Bar, offering face-to-face tech support from Apple, to help with any technical issues students may have.

Chad Oliver, executive director of communications and community engagement for CCPS, says the impact this school will have on future generations is difficult to even comprehend.

“When we say ‘state of the art,’ that means this campus is incorporating the newest ideas in education, to foster 21st-century learning; all the newest technology and the features that really make this campus a dynamic place to prepare students not just for the careers of today, but for tomorrow as well,” Oliver said.

The school will be able to hold more than 2,000 students. The university-like design includes a performing arts center, a “town square” and a sports complex with a 4,000 seat stadium.

Future freshman class member Cole Woessner helped break ground Monday. He plans to take classes in the entrepreneurship and finance academy.

Woessner said, “I want to own a business about stocks. I want to help in the stock business. I already own some stocks. So I want to keep on investing.”

Students will also be able to study engineering, health science, information tech, entrepreneurship and finance and law studies.

Erick Carter, the board chair for Collier County Public Schools said, “the students who graduated from this school will fulfill the workforce needs of tomorrow will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

But today, some living in the Secoya Reserve have concerns. They live right off the newly extended Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard.

“The biggest concern is you got all these high schoolers that on the Friday nights and the Saturdays when football season and all the sports are going on, it’ll end up being a drag strip. So they’re pretty concerned about the high volume of traffic,” said Brad Overby, president of the Secoya Reserve Homeowners Association.

Mediterra is another community with homes right up against what will be the new school.

Rodney Chase, president of the Mediterra Community Association said, “there’ll be some people who will be saying, pity it had to be next to me, but others understand what’s going on.”

CCPS promises to continue engaging with neighbors and working through concerns. They say there will be no tax increase or bond to cover the cost of the school.

The school is being designed and built to relieve enrollment for Collier County at the high school level and will emphasize hands-on learning, with five signature career academies and an environmental theme woven throughout the campus to showcase the area’s natural beauty. CCPS says all the money and effort going into building this school will reward the district greatly in the years to come.

“When you think about the impact, we’re talking about generations that will be impacted, in that we’ll be able to benefit from this campus for decades to come,” Oliver said.

The school’s name, mascot and boundary lines will be determined ahead of the school’s August 2023 opening.

Reporter:Taylor Wirtz
Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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