BROOKSVILLE - The Tampa office of Harvard Jolly Clees Toppe Architects is the School Board's top choice to design Hernando County's first kindergarten through eighth-grade school.
The board picked the firm Tuesday after listening to presentations by three top-ranked architecture companies. It then instructed administrators to negotiate a contract for the work.
Board members have said they want to open the school, at Elgin Boulevard and Barclay Avenue, in time for the 2005-06 academic year. On Tuesday, they also voted 4-1 to make the school a math and science magnet for about 1,200 children.
The school would not have an attendance zone. Board members agreed they might weight the lottery to take larger numbers of children from crowded existing schools. They also said they would let some students gain access through an audition or portfolio.
Gail David was the lone dissenter, saying the district needs a neighborhood school and not a magnet. But she said she will support the board's decision.
Gulf Coast Academy gets time to earn approvals
BROOKSVILLE - School Board members on Tuesday postponed a final decision on a contract with Gulf Coast Academy of Science and Technology until the evening of July 1.
The delay will allow Gulf Coast Academy, which would be Hernando County's first charter school, time to appeal the Planning and Zoning Commission's denial of a special use permit for its chosen site in Spring Hill. County commissioners have agreed to hear the appeal the morning of July 1.
Without the permit, the school has no home. Superintendent Wendy Tellone had recommended denial of the contract with Gulf Coast Academy because it lacks proper zoning for its building.
Board member Jim Malcolm asked to put off a vote until the County Commission has decided Gulf Coast Academy's fate. Others agreed. But board member Gail David noted that she will not attend the July 1 session; a tie vote could kill the proposal.
Further delay could stop teachers Joe Gatti and Nevin Seifert from opening the academy on the first day of school, which is Aug. 11.