Pepin Academies Purchases Building, Plans Move

By Bonnie Mentel

On Tuesday, June 7, Pepin Academies will meet for a zoning hearing to discuss the building they are purchasing in Riverview. Once that has been approved by the Board of County Commissioners, Pepin will be able to move forward with the public bond financing to buy the building and finance the construction of the classrooms.

“Pepin Academies is a public, charter school that serves kids with learning and learning-related disabilities. It’s been around since 1999. It’s a school that really allows kids to come and be a part of something special and participate in activities that they likely would not have had the opportunity to participate in if they were in a large, typical campus,” said Principal, Dr. Craig Butz.

Butz said that Pepin Academies allows kids to experience school just as any other student could, whether that means playing on sports teams, being on school government, or in honor society.

“Our kids have that opportunity because of Pepin Academies,” he said.

The new building is 16,000 sq. ft. and will house next year’s ninth and tenth grades. The plans are to keep the third through eighth grade students at the temporary Riverview campus at 10530 Lake St. Charles Blvd. during construction and move during the winter break.

“The new campus has space that is already built that can accommodate a number of our students. The other portion of the building will need major modifications that will include building out additional classrooms, offices and several shared student spaces. These modifications require permits from local government entities before major construction can take place,” Butz said in an email update.

The campus will also have a library, an indoor space for physical education, and an outdoor play area, which are spaces that they do not have now.

“It’s going to be a very exciting fall with a lot going on. Once we get everyone into the new building I think everyone will be very happy; the students and the parents. We’ll have a lot of room, we’ll have computer labs, a sensory lab, all of those things that are part of a Pepin experience that the students in the Tampa campus have had for a number of years. We’ll have the ability to have a room set up for the occupational therapist to work with kids on their sensory needs,” Butz said.

The new campus is located at 9304 Camden Field in Riverview. It will have the capacity to hold 325 students; the temporary campus holds 300 students. There are still some openings for next year. Call 677-6700 or complete an application at pepinacademies.com.