Duval County’s first middle school funded with the half-cent sales tax is officially under construction.
A groundbreaking for Chaffee Trail Middle School took place this week. When the school opens in August of next year, it will feature 26 classrooms in a 125,000-square-foot facility on Sam Caruso Way, just east of Chaffee Road South and next to the Chaffee Trails Elementary School.
Duval County voters approved the half-cent sales tax in November 2020, and its collection began in January 2021. The money goes toward renovations at schools across the city, as well as safety and security upgrades. The Duval County School District estimated the tax would collect around $1.26 billion over 15 years.
The new sixth- through eighth-grade school will cost an estimated $56 million and have room for 994 students. It will include a Career and Technical Education Center that will support learning programs in business, entrepreneurship, marketing, transportation and logistics, and agricultural science. Six new Science Demo Labs and two Skills Development Labs also are planned. The new Middle School also will open three new Exceptional Student Education classrooms.
Chaffee Trail Middle School’s boundaries will border Westside Middle School, Baldwin Middle-High School and Westview K-8. When it opens, Westside Middle School, Baldwin Middle-High School, Charger Academy, and Westview K-8 will experience boundary changes to adjust to the new facility’s capacity.
Charger Academy students will attend the new middle school, Westside Middle School, or Westview K-8. So the school will serve as a relief site to both Baldwin Middle-Senior High and Charger Academy.
During a school board meeting in January, Zyscovich Inc. was selected as the architectural and engineering firm for the project, and construction management firm Gilbane Building Company was awarded pre-construction services.
Other projects to be funded from the half-cent sales tax will include a new $58 million Jean Ribault High School, the first new facility since Atlantic Coast High School was built in 2010 off Baymeadows Road, according to WJCT News partner News4Jax.
A replacement for the demolished Rutledge Pearson Elementary in Northwest Jacksonville is set for August, according to school officials. Southside Estates Elementary School’s new campus is expected to open in 2024, and Highlands Elementary School is also getting a new kindergarten through fifth grade facility, also set for an August 2024 completion.