Shared from the 7/24/2017 The St. Augustine Record eEdition



» Construction, renovation and additional sites across county mark start of 2017-18 year


Picolata Crossing Elementary School, St. Johns County’s newest school, will open at the start of this school year in August. The two-story, K-8 facility on Pacetti Road is 110,000 square feet on a 18.5-acre site. The school’s 43 classrooms will accommodate up to 871 students.

Students, parents and faculty will notice many changes in the St. Johns County schools on the opening of the 2017-18 school year the second week in August.

Three new schools will open their doors for the first time: Picolata Crossing Elementary School, within the public system, as well as Veritas Classical School and the Pioneer School, both private schools that will began enrolling students in St. Augustine this year.


Work continues on the expansion of Allen D. Nease High School on Thursday.

In addition, several major renovation projects, including the expansion of Nease High School, will make other schools feel a bit like new as students make their way around campus. At The Webster School, an entire classroom wing has been refurbished. Renovation of a science lab at Gamble Rogers Middle School and a cafeteria face lift at Crookshank Elementary School are just a couple of the other projects district staff have been working on to ready schools for the Aug. 14 opening.

Here’s a rundown of some of the changes across St. Johns County schools:





The newest school to open in the district, the K-8 facility on Pacetti Road, cost $24 million to construct, funded through the half-cent sales tax. The two-story structure is 110,000 square feet on a 18.5-acre lot. The school’s 43 classrooms accomodate up to 871 students. The long-anticipated opening of Picolata Crossing, which will be run by principal Jud Strickland, is expected to ease some of the overcrowding at Mill Creek and Wards Creek elementary schools.



The opening of the Veritas Classical School was made possible through the grassroots efforts of a group of local parents who wanted another option for a Christian-based learning environment. Currently, the school will enroll about 40 students in grades K-8 at the facility at 253 State Road 16, but the plan is to eventually expand the program to the high school level. (See page 3 in today’s paper for a full story on Veritas.)




Though not a new institution, Moultrie Montessori School will kick off the school year at a new campus. The Veritas Classical School has taken over Moultrie Montessori’s previous headquarters, with Moultrie Montessori moving to 37 South Dixie Highway. The new site is better suited for housing the school’s different age groupings, from toddler to ages 6 to 12.


Begun by two mothers wanting to provide a more experimental learning environment for middle-schoolers, the Pioneer School is a small new private school serving grades 6 to 8. Students attend classes at the school building at 105 Masters Drive, but also take part in a variety of activities meant to enhance book studies, like boat building and gardening.



Students entering Nease High School will notice changes to the campus immediately, including a new student/visitor entry canopy at the main front entrance. The $17 million expansion project encompassing 60,000 square feet also adds new space to the gymnasium, media center, cafeteria and classroom wings. Changes to on-campus and off-campus roadways, parking and a relocated bus loop round out the upgrades.



Across the public schools, other projects that are being completed in time for the 2017-18 school opening include: renovations to a classroom wing at Webster; improvements to the cafeteria serving line at Crookshank; renovation of six science labs at Gamble Rogers; dining facility expansions at Valley Ridge Academy and Pacetti Bay Middle School; gym floor replacement and classroom/computer lab remodeling at Murray Middle School; a shelter upgrade at Creekside High School; chiller replacements at Bartram Trail High School and St. Johns Technical High School; roofing projects at seven different schools; and parking lot repairs at several schools.

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