Sanford, FL – December 11, 2017 – In pep rally fashion, hundreds of cheering students, faculty, school board members, and local partners gathered on December 6 to celebrate and officially dedicate the new Innovation Middle School for Orange County Public Schools (OCPS). Wharton-Smith and HZ Construction served as construction manager on the project.
Held in the school’s new gymnasium, the ceremony opened with a heartfelt thank you from Principal Dr. Hector Maestre followed by performances from the school band and chorus, and enthusiastic remarks given by Orange County School Board Member Daryl Flynn and Chair Bill Sublette.
The new middle school campus located in Lake Nona, is the first of its kind for OCPS representing an original prototype design by Harvard Jolly that features an elevated skywalk between buildings for increased supervision during class changes and extracurricular activities. The facility also incorporates 21st century learning environments such as collaborative learning spaces, wireless technology, flexible floor plans, daylighting, and secured access. The new campus was built to alleviate overcrowding at Lake Nona Middle School accommodating approximately 1,350 students.
“It is really great to see the students and the community so excited about their new school,” said Tom Widener, K-12 Project Executive for Wharton-Smith. “Seeing the kids and teachers smile and cheer is so rewarding…it is the reason we love doing this kind of work,” he added.
Superintendent Dr. Barbara Jenkins presented the students and staff of the school with a framed image of a Phoenix, the mascot of Innovation Middle School. She ended her remarks by leading the students in an excited chant of “I will,” promising to always keep their new school clean, always obey their teachers and parents, and most importantly, agreeing to put their best foot forward towards achieving success. The dedication concluded with a time capsule ceremony and an official ribbon cutting.
The Innovation Middle School project was the recipient of the prestigious 2017 Eagle Award bestowed by the Central Florida Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractor’s (ABC) Excellence in Construction Awards program.
Photographs from the event are located on the Wharton-Smith Flickr page: https://flic.kr/s/aHsksFrTb7