Coral Springs Charter School to be bulldozed, relocated

The city has unveiled the future location of its charter school: The parking lot of an art museum — and the public will get to weigh in on the plan.

Officials want the city-owned land of the current location of the Coral Springs Charter School, on University Drive next to the county library, to be available for sale to developers as part of its future downtown district.

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To do that, it proposes moving the school to a parking lot at the Performing Arts Center on Coral Springs Drive. The plan calls for a new, three-story building with enough space to boost its capacity from 1,645 students to 2,100. There is a waiting list for the popular school, which serves grades 6-12.

Deputy City Manager Susan Grant said the estimated cost to build the school and parking garage is $21.5 million, which would be paid for by Charter Schools USA.

She said the city would lease the land to the school for 49 years; the lease amount has not yet been decided.

The public meetings are 7 p.m. March 19 at the school and 7 p.m. April 9 at Mullins Hall, 10000 NW 29 Drive.

The City Commission has talked for years about moving the city-run school out of its busiest intersection at Sample Road and University Drive. Commissioners complained the school was in the way of developers who might want to invest in a high-density vision of a downtown with shops and apartments catering to empty nesters or post-college young adults.

Commissioner Dan Daley said he’s open to development of the quadrant with retail stores or a mix of retail and residential units. But ideally, he hopes the area attracts a college such as Broward College or Florida Atlantic University to build its own building.

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“It’s a different demographic than middle and high school students,” he said. “People would come and go all day and have disposable income and can get a meal in between class.”

He said moving the charter school off site “is a good thing, I do think it’s the right thing.”

The site wasn’t always a school. The spot began as the Coral Springs Mall, which opened in 1979, to be later overshadowed by the nearby, larger Coral Square mall. Over the years, the aging mall became nearly vacant and in 1999 the City Commission paid $7 million for the mall through eminent domain, which allows a government entity to force the sale of property for public use. The mall’s three main tenants at the time — Eckerd, Ross Dress for Less and Uptons — were forced to relocate.

The charter school opened later that year with the movie theater serving as a storage room and the fountain area a place reserved for seniors to eat breakfast.

Grant said there is no date set yet for the City Commission to vote on the relocation plan.

lhuriash@tribpub.com or 954-572-2008

Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/fl-springs-charter-school-20150212-story.html?track=rss

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