ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – St. Johns County is one step closer to getting a desperately needed new high school.
The St. Johns County School Board on Thursday awarded a $60.8 million contract to a Tallahassee construction company that will be tasked with building the new school, currently referred to as High School “HHH."
The school, which will be built on a nearly 70-acre site on International Golf Parkway, is expected to be ready for the 2021-2022 school year.
The school district has been racing to keep up with the county’s booming population, which has resulted in 1,500 to 2,000 new students each year.
According to the school district, the highest enrollment for high schools is at Bartram Trail and Nease high schools. Superintendent Tim Forson said by adding the new high school, which will accommodate about 2,100 students, in the central part of the county, the enrollment numbers at Bartram Trail and Nease would drop closer to the 2,000 marks.
Tallahassee-based Culpepper Construction Company submitted the lowest bid to build the school, beating out five other companies. The bid from Culpepper was about $2.4 million below the next lowest bid.
The school was designed by Schenkel Shultz Architecture and will have the look and feel of a university.
“The 21st-century design emphasizes academic flexibility with classrooms grouped around a centralized collaborative learning spine,” Schenkel Shultz wrote about the design on its website. “Flexible furniture and an abundance of technology ensures that a variety of academic styles can take place, including small group meetings or one-on-one instruction.”
The school will also have technology-infused and hands-on “Idea Labs” and Medical Health Labs.
The district paid just over $7 million for the 68.7-acre property where the school will be built.
The hope is for construction to begin in either late fall or early winter 2020.
The last time a high school was built in the county was in 2008.