By Tamas Mondovics

Thompson Elem.Sharing a property, home to both Lennard High School and Hillsborough Community College’s SouthShore campus, Hillsborough County Public Schools will open the district’s first brand new elementary school in years.

Named J. Vince Thompson Elementary School by the community, the school is located at 2020 E. Shell Point Rd. in Ruskin on 13 acres once owned by the Dickman family.

Construction of the $18 million project by Tampa-based Wilder Architecture to plan and design the facility, and Batson-Cook Co., began almost one year ago, and is now scheduled to open this fall as another first for the district.

School officials said the new facility is the first school built specifically using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) construction standards, which also fits in well with the nearby HCC campus’s LEED status.

Funds for the construction partially came from the county’s impact fees.

Thompson Elementary will have a maximum capacity of 950 students under its attendance boundary, and will draw students from both Ruskin and Cypress Creek Elementary schools, both of which operate well-above the state and local attendance standards.

According to school officials, the attendance boundary is planned to accommodate future growth anticipated to occur in the area, prompted by the soon to be opened Amazon distribution center, as well as HCC’s addition of a new technology building scheduled to be open next year.

As the season starts, Thompson Elementary is not expected to be at full capacity until more homes within the surrounding areas are constructed and occupied.

Earlier this year, the School Board also appointed Milady Astacio as the Principal for J. Vince Thompson Elementary School.  Astacio has served as the principal for Wimauma Elementary School for several years.

“It is my goal as principal of Thompson Elementary to build the trust and confidence of our total school community. It will be a quality educational setting for all students to grow,”  Astacio said in a written statement on the school home page.

Thompson Elementary School will offer a before and/or after school care program and will also continue to offer Exceptional Student Education (ESE).

For more information about the school, visit

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