School Spotlight: Western High School

After a five-year intermission due to broken appliances and outdated equipment, the culinary lab at Western High School is just about ready for students to begin cooking. The highly anticipated project has been accelerated due to an increase in enrollment and is targeting a mid-January opening. The lab has been upgraded with a walk-in freezer, two gas stoves, ice machine, water cooler, and a grease trap.

Richard Vaughn, the Culinary Arts Instructor at Western, intends to teach students how to prepare meals in mass quantities, which will come in handy for on-campus events catered by students in his culinary class.

Other projects in motion at Western High include the teacher planning room, ADA renovations to the group restrooms down the hall from the culinary lab, and the clinic restroom in the front office. All renovations are projected to be complete by the end of January.

Tale of 2 Buildings

As the only high school in a city that has grown exponentially over the years, Cypress Bay High School’s student population has exceeded its capacity and with over 4,000 students to instruct, adjustments needed to be made. Portable classrooms began appearing on campus to make room for the additional students until a more permanent solution was established.

As expected, a similar issue was taking place next door at Falcon Cove Middle School. Like their neighbor, Falcon Cove relied on portables to accommodate their growing student body. However, due to both schools being in such close proximity to the Everglades, flooding in the portable classrooms became a serious concern, and the need for a resolution became more imperative.

Ultimately, a plan was put in place in [blank] to develop a new building with 64 additional classrooms at Cypress Bay and 48 additional classrooms at Falcon Cove. Both schools received a Notice to Proceed (NTP) in June 2019, giving contractors the green light to begin construction.

Construction has long been active and visible progress is being made on both campuses. Currently, power lines and main water lines are being installed at Cypress Bay, and concrete has been poured for the columns and walls of the first floor. At Falcon Cove, the elevator pit is complete, the foundation has been poured, and the Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) has been installed for the first-floor walls. Both buildings are expected to be ready for students in 2021.

Cypress Bay High School will keep the portable classrooms around even after its new building is in working order, as the city of Weston continues to grow. Falcon Cove Middle School, however, will say goodbye to theirs for good with confidence that their brand-new building has more than enough space for their middle schoolers.

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The SMART Program ended last year on a high note with a record number of schools in Active Construction. 70 schools are currently undergoing renovations with two additional schools completing their campus improvements, bringing the total amount of completed projects to eight. As the year progresses, the Team expects even more schools to begin and complete their Primary Renovations.

Blanche Ely High School is one of the eight schools entering 2020 with a completed project. Their remodeled media center is ready to be utilized by students, teachers, and staff. Superintendent Runcie stopped by Blanche Ely for the ribbon cutting ceremony, held on October 12, 2019, and offered a congratulations and some words of encouragement to the school community.

The School Choice Enhancement Program (SCEP) experienced similar success in the past year. 1,247 SCEP items were delivered and installed at 86 schools across the District. Popular uses of SCEP funds include new laptops for students and teachers, playground upgrades, Recordex Interactive Systems, and digital marquees.

In an effort to maintain transparency and community involvement, the Team has expanded our outreach by increasing the regularity of face-to-face events, digital media publications, social media content, and printed materials. Going forward, we plan to continue to document the improvements being made district-wide with other mediums of content creation including aerial coverage and video production.

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