Avalon Park Group announced today at the Orange County Board of County Commissioners meeting an out-of-the-box plan to relieve schools in the Avalon Park corridor.
By Jacob Engels
Beat Kahli, President and CEO of Avalon Park Group, presented a plan to build and privately finance five schools for Orange County Public Schools to be opened in the Fall of 2016: Spring Isle Middle School, Timber Springs Elementary School, Avalon Park VPK, and Avalon Park Middle STEM School and Art School (STEAM). The plan would bring approximately 1,850 middle school, 836 elementary school and 125 pre-school student stations to the Avalon Park corridor. The proposition comes as a result of the pressing need for a relief to Avalon Park Middle School, which has a student capacity of 970 students and currently has enrolled 1,810 students, with projections that put the school at over 2,000 students by 2017.
Proposed school sites submitted by Beat Kahli, founder of Avalon Park.
Additionally, the local elementary feeder schools are also overcrowded. Avalon, Stone Lakes, Castle Creek and Timber Lakes Elementary Schools combined are overcrowded by 853 students, showing the urgent need for an additional Elementary School. “The severe overcrowding at both the elementary and middle schools, and the threat of pending litigation regardless of a decision at the meeting today, made us realize that we could not just sit around and wait for a solution to present itself.” said Kahli. He went on to say that even further urgency is necessary after receiving confirmation yesterday evening from the County and School Board, that the School Board is hopeful for a 2017 opening of a relief school, but that school could be open as late as 2018.
Kahli said that this is a situation reminiscent of 2004/2005. “I remember a very similar situation in 2005, where we were presented with dire overcrowding, where all of our local schools were double capacity. We quickly jumped in and partnered with the Orange County School Board to bring relief in the form of three schools: Avalon Middle, Stone Lakes Elementary School and Winter Park Tech-Avalon Campus. Since then, there has been continuous growth throughout the corridor, without an adequate plan for accommodating the quickly growing student population. We offered warning that we would quickly be in the same situation we were in, in 2005 all over again if an active plan was not in place, and here we are again.” said Kahli. He went on to say that fielding hundreds of calls and requests from the community for relief makes it evident that he needed to become part of the solution. Over the past 25 years, Avalon Park Group has formed partnerships with both the County and the School Board, building needed infrastructure such as roads and schools. “I am pleased to be able to expedite the work that has historically taken too long, by partnering with both government entities.”
Concept render for the Avalon Middle STEM school.
“We have a track record of seeing the needs of the community and acting quickly to help.” Kahli said. “My entire team is passionate about this community that we have worked so hard to build and feel that it is imperative that we offer support to help our children get the best education possible.”
Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at email@example.com