Monroe County School Board members, top school administrators and Islamorada dignitaries officially broke ground on the new Plantation Key School this week.
The new K-8 school will accomodate up to 658 students and is scheduled to be open for learning some time in the 2017-2018 school year. In the meantime, students are being taught in what remains of the original building right next to the construction site on the bay side of U.S. 1 at mile marker 89.
Principal Lisa Taylor said learning has not been impacted as crews lay the foundation for the new school.
“No student education is being compromised because we’re in a construction site,” Taylor told an audience of about 300 elementary school students and community members Tuesday afternoon. “We will remain an excellent school.”
The Upper Keys was expected to get a new Plantation Key School almost a decade ago, but events like Hurricane Wilma in late 2005 delayed those plans. The storm flooded Horace O’Bryant School, making rebuilding the Key West school a priority.
“That school moved in front of your school,” School Board Chairman John Dick told those attending Tuesday’s groundbreaking.
The price tag of the school, which officials say will contain state-of-the art facilities and learning technology, is expected to come in around $35 million.
Superintendant Mark Porter called the project a “truly outstanding 21st Century learning community that you can be proud of.”
The original version of this story incorrectly stated the school was on the ocean side of U.S. 1.
David Goodhue: 305-440-3204