Construction begins on new Highlands Elementary in Jacksonville

Published on May 19, 2023 at 9:29 am

Duval County’s newest elementary school is under construction.

The new 98,000-square-foot Highlands Elementary School will be built at the site of the current campus on De Paul Drive on the city’s Northside, with room for 750 students.

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

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$53 million Highlands campus when it opens in 2024, with ESE classrooms, an art lab, a music room and a skills lab.

District officials said that school bus transportation will be provided for all students who qualify, with a bus stop at the Highlands campus for students who were originally walkers.

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An illustration shows sports fields planned for the new Highlands Elementary School. | Duval County Public Schools

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The new school marks the fourth school under construction after Duval County voters approved the half-cent sales tax in November 2020, and its collection began two months later. 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.

A new Southside Estates Elementary School started construction last month on Ivey Road on a city baseball field complex just south of the current facility. It will handle its current students as well as those from Windy Hill Elementary almost 3 miles away when it is done in August 2024. The original will be demolished to make way for a new ballpark, Duval County school officials said.

The new Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary School will open this August, according to News4Jax. And the first new middle school to be built with the half-penny sales tax is Chaffee Trail Middle School, which broke ground in mid-April on Sam Caruso Way, just east of Chaffee Road South. Set to open in August of next year, it will feature 26 classrooms in a 125,000-square-foot facility.

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email 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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