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Construction begins on new Southside Estates Elementary School

Published on April 19, 2023 at 4:00 pm

A new Southside Estates Elementary School will rise in the next year on a city baseball field complex just south of the current facility.

The school is designed to handle its current students as well as those from Windy Hill Elementary almost 3 miles away.

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When the new school is done in August 2024, the old one will be demolished to make way for a new ballpark, Duval County school officials said.

The new facility is a 94,000-square-foot rebuild of the current elementary school on Ivey Road just east of Southside Boulevard, currently with eight wings, plus two outbuildings. The school is just north of Southside Estates Park, which has four baseball fields fronting woods to the east and will be rebuilt where the current campus stands now, school officials said.

“The project’s design has taken into consideration community concerns regarding traffic and will have an advanced queuing platform for roughly 135 vehicles,” a Duval County Public Schools memo states. “In addition to modernized technology and ample classroom space, the new school will feature a computer lab, multipurpose cafetorium and four playgrounds.”

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An illustration shows the entrance for the planned Southside Estates Elementary School. | Duval County Public Schools

The new Southside Estates is the the second public elementary school rebuild using the taxpayer-approved half-penny sales tax. It follows work that will see a new Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary School open this August, according to WJCT News partner, News4Jax.

The first new middle school to be built with the half-penny sales tax is Chaffee Trail Middle School, which broke ground last week. Set to open 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.

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 school will have room for 900 to 1,000 students, consolidating Southside Estates on Ivey Road and Windy Hill on Forest Boulevard. Students will continue to attend classes at their original campuses while the new facility is being built.

One more new school is coming soon, as a replacement for Highlands Elementary School on De Paul Drive is built over the next year.

The new school will consolidate the current Highlands and Pine Estates elementary schools. Highlands Elementary School students will move to the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary campus for the 2023-2024 school year. Then Highlands and Pine Estates elementary schools’ students will transition to the new campus when it opens in 2024.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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