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Media Releases: December 12, 2003

Due to the delay involved in acquiring sites for the proposed new elementary schools planned for the northwest and southern parts of the county, the St. Johns County School District has decided to postpone scheduling the opening of the new schools until the land acquisition process is complete. Elementary School “I” in the northwest and Elementary School “J” in the south were originally scheduled to open in August 2004.

The School Board approved the option contracts for the two new elementary school sites at its regular meeting on October 2. While the School District continues to negotiate the purchase of these sites, they have not yet reached agreement on the purchase price.

“ Until the land acquisition process is complete, we are reluctant to set a schedule for the opening of the new schools,” said Dr. Joseph Joyner, Superintendent of Schools. “We hope to be ready to make a decision on these sites at the January 15, 2004 School Board meeting. Once the sites are confirmed, we will establish a construction schedule and potential opening date,” he added. “Our primary goal will be to set a schedule that will be in the best interest of students and cause the least disruption in the learning process.”

The School District accepted bids for the construction of the two elementary schools on October 15. The Tower Group of Jacksonville was the apparent low bidder and has agreed to extend their bid through January 2004. This bid will not be awarded until the land acquisition process is complete.

Funding for the two new schools was included in the District’s 2003-2004 budget approved on September 17, and the District has finalized the issuance of Certificates of Participation (COP’s) to finance the construction of the two new schools.

Two of the three major components for the construction of the new schools are in place – a construction bid that is within budget and adequate financing. However, the project will be delayed until the site acquisition can be finalized.

The District Five-Year Work Program/Plan has also been updated and is scheduled for approval at the December 18 School Board meeting. In addition to the two new high schools (one in the northeast and one in the northwest), the plan identifies one additional elementary school to be built in the northwest during the next two years. At its December 11 workshop the School Board agreed to expedite the process for the construction of the additional elementary school.





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St. Johns County School District
40 Orange St. St. Augustine, FL 32084 904.819.7500