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Crews work to finish construction projects at schools across Tampa Bay area before students return

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Posted at 6:32 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 08:24:29-04

School districts across the Tampa Bay area have been working on different construction projects.

“It’s a busy time of year here at the school district,” said Chris Farkas, Chief Operating Officer at Hillsborough County Schools.

In Hillsborough County, there are several construction sites.

“You’ll definitely see changes at a lot of the schools here when you come back to the school district, but those are all positive things we see,” said Farkas. “We have a bunch going on. The sales tax referendum has afforded us the opportunity to have a lot of projects for our infrastructure."

Some of those projects include:

  • Adding 20 classrooms at Soto High School to increase capacity for about 500 students, opening this August
  • Adding 17 classrooms to Wimauma Elementary, making space for about 300 more students, opening this August
  • Multi-Million dollar HVAC projects at various schools
  • Relieving overcrowding in the southern part of Hillsborough County

“The Southern part of our county is exploding. So as quickly as we can get seats in there, we have a new school a K-8 school that’s being built right off of Big Bend Road, that’s going to come but that’s not until next fall,” said Farkas.

“So having some of these little relief wings help us out a bunch I mean many of the schools are overcrowded in the Southern part of the county and will continue to be as people move down,” he added.

There are also a lot of smaller projects happening at various schools.

“Sometimes that’s paving. So it may be that the entryway that where you picked up your kid last year is not the same place you’re picking up this year. Please be patient with us as we change some of those things around.”

In Pinellas County, the district has several projects it’s working on as well.

That includes renovations at:

  • Midtown Academy
  • Seventy-Fourth Elementary
  • Orange Grove Elementary
  • St. Petersburg High School, major restoration
  • Sanderlin K-8, adding 10 classrooms
  • Sawgrass Elementary, adding 10 classrooms
  • Shore Acres Elementary, adding six classrooms