Lee school district plans building blitz with millions of dollars of new sales tax revenue

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Gateway high school fort myers

Much growth is anticipated in 2020 for the Lee school district in southwestern Florida, as authorities start a massive school construction blitz funded largely from a recently-approved half-cent sales tax.

And one of the biggest focuses of the new construction will be on career education — including resources to introduce students in the Fort Myers area to the technical and vocational trades, the News-Press reports.

In December, the school district broke ground on the $98.2 million Gateway High School project, one of nine large construction projects progressing in 2020. The new sales tax is expected to generate as much as $83.8 million by the end of the school year.

Planned projects include a new middle and elementary school in both the East and South zones, “the total rebuilds of Franklin Park Elementary and Cypress Lake Middle schools, as well as the creation of an innovation/lab school being built in conjunction with Florida Gulf Coast University,” the newspaper reports.

Site work for the new Lehigh Acres middle school will begin in 2020, with its name selection and groundbreaking likely to come within the first months of the year.

Another priority of superintendent Greg Atkins is to expand career and technical programs, including the renovation and expansion of the district’s technical college.

“That facility is really not where it should be, so this is an opportunity to upgrade a facility and make it larger and offer more programs that are high-need programs for the community,” the News-Press quoted Adkins as saying.

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