The smell of fresh paint and the presence of construction equipment greeted the close to 2,400 new and returning Bloomingdale Senior High School students on opening day of the 2012-2013 school year and the school’s ongoing four-phase renovation and remodeling project keeps things busy.

The $20 million facelift that began in early 2010 continues and is hoped to reach completion by the end of the first semester. Faculty, staff and students are not only pleased with the results but are thankful for the efforts as they celebrate the school’s 25th anniversary.

“We are in the last phase of our renovation project and I will be happy when it is all done,” school principal Mark West said. “What we see accomplished so far is just beautiful and it will go well as we celebrate all that has been accomplished here in the past quarter of a century.”

Joining its neighbor, Brandon High, and under the direction of its first principal and stadium-namesake, Charley Harris, Bloomingdale High, located at 1700 E. Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico, opened its doors to the public in 1987 with 1,000 students.

Harris was succeeded by B.J. Stelter, in 1993, followed by West, keeping the number of principals serving the school to just three. While admitting the challenges that accompany every year, West focused on the positives, the successes and the countless ways by the students have brought attention to their school over the years.

West proudly mentioned some of the most recent successes of the A-rated school, including the implementation of an Advanced Placement curriculum, which he said allows students to advance their education at some of the country’s best colleges.

“We had a 92 percent graduation rate and the highest AP passing rate in the district,” West said.

Other memorable events and accomplishments in recent years includes the school’s marching band and chorus’ trip to London last year and the national recognition the school received for a YouTube lip dub video students created in March of 2010.

In 1998, Bloomingdale earn an “A” on the state’s FCAT report card to become the first high school in the county to claim the status.

Adding to the wall of trophies, the 2007-2008 cheerleading squad won first place at state competition. Last year, Bloomingdale High enjoyed the attention of its peers after winning the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Battle of the Belts competition. West said that all will celebrate the school’s 25 year run with a ceremony later this year. For more information about Bloomingdale High School, please visit

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