A rendering of Waterset’s PK-8 Magnet School, which is now under construction in Apollo Beach.

April 12 marked a significant milestone in the construction of a new PK-8 magnet school located at 5995 Covington Garden Dr. in the Waterset subdivision.

With the help of impact fees assessed by the county government for new construction homes, construction on the school’s first building is underway in Apollo Beach. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in March.

Construction will continue through June 2022 with an anticipated August 2022 school opening.
While plans are still being developed, the school is intended to be a first-of-its-kind, application-based magnet school that hosts an International Baccalaureate (IB) program that will incorporate unique arts and science pathways and be rich in technology.

“The school will be the most unique IB magnet school in the district and will be replete with labs, equipment and materials that will not only engage students in their learning but will appeal to all students—those whose interests lie in the arts, those whose interests lie in the sciences and those who are interested in both,” said Erin Maloney with Hillsborough County Public Schools.

The program’s unique approach is expected to attract applications from families throughout the area and ensure the schools launch at or near capacity.

The new school will give parents another magnet option in Southern Hillsborough County. Currently there are only two magnet high schools (Lennard and Spoto), three magnet middle schools (Dowdell, Progress Village and Rodgers) and no magnet elementary schools in the area.

“The introduction of the K-8 model infused with this magnet program will give families in the southern portion of the county a magnet school that can appeal to all students of all interests and provide the community with its first K-5 magnet presence,” said Maloney.

The school will also address higher school enrollment at schools brought on by increases in residential development.

The new school will have a capacity of 1,620 students.

Magnet schools will begin taking applications during the school choice window, which takes place in the fall before the following school year. If all goes as scheduled and planned, applications will open up in the choice window this fall.

For more information about magnet schools call the Office of Student Planning and Placement at 272-4692 or visit www.hillsboroughschools.org/magnet.

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Michelle Caceres
MIchelle Caceres has been writing for the Osprey Observer for seventeen years. She enjoys writing human interest pieces about inspiring members of the community who are working to better our community. She lives in FishHawk Ranch with her husband and recently became an empty-nester. When not writing, Michelle is serving her church community, reading and enjoying Florida's weather.