Charter Schools USA will build a three-story building, parking garage and gymnasium at the parking lot of Coral Springs Center for the Arts as part of its plans to relocate Coral Springs Charter school from the city’s downtown area. Construction is expected to start this September or September 2016.
The project cost is $25 million; Renaissance Charter School, which is also a member of Charter Schools USA family of schools, and Red Apple Development will be the borrowers. The school will use $1.8 million from its reserves to pay for infrastructure and relocation expenses. The city is not spending any money on the project.
The school will have 2,100 students, an increase from the current number. The plan is to add 100 more seats in ninth grade every year for four years, with Renaissance Charter School students from Coral Springs getting first preference. Of the new seats, a maximum of 34 will be set aside for non-residents.
According to the plan that has the blessing of city officials, the city will lease the land to Red Apple Development, a developer of charter schools all over the country, for 50 years. The school will have access to the sports fields at Mullins Park, while the city will be able to use the gym during non-school hours. There will be about 750 parking spaces with the construction of the parking garage behind the school building, more than what the facility currently has.
“Of all the sites that we saw, this was the best one,” said Richard Page, Charter Schools USA vice president of development. “The feedback that we are getting from school-based folks is very positive. We will organize multiple community meetings to find out what the public thinks about the project.”
The city and Charter Schools USA looked at many sites within the city, including the Sportsplex, said City Manager Erdal Donmez. “The location selected has proximity to sports fields and the arts center,” he said. “It is the potential for shared use that made us pick this site. It is not the perfect location, but the best one we could find.”
Mayor Skip Campbell wants the city and Charter Schools USA to organize at least three community meetings. “I was a little against the proposal until I saw the project details,” he said. “This makes a lot of sense for the community. If you are going to do the project, do it sooner rather than later.”
“This is a great idea for a number of reasons,” said Commissioner Dan Daley said. “This is a big project and will have a big impact on surrounding areas. I am concerned about parking and traffic issues during construction. I hope we can build the parking garage first.”
The school’s accessibility to the sports fields, as well as the museum and the arts center, will benefit the students, said Vice Mayor Larry Vignola. Vignola, who wanted security camera installed in the proposed parking garage, also liked the idea of the city and its residents having access to the gym during non-school hours.
“I thought Sportsplex was the better location, but we can’t do it there since the land is deed restricted by the county,” Commissioner Joy Carter said. “I am definitely in support of the school relocating, but I am less than thrilled about the amount of traffic that we are going to have on the two-lane road. I am also concerned about possible excessive activity around the peace garden and the sculptures.”
Copyright © 2015, Sun Sentinel