Orange County Public Schools
ocps horizon

2 high schools set to open later this year in Orange County (Fla.) district

May 5, 2021
Projections show the growing district will need more than 20 new campuses in the next 10 years.

The Orange County (Fla.) district is building two high schools that are set to open later this year.

The district says Lake Buena Vista High School will open in August in the Dr. Phillips area in the suburbs of Orlando; and Horizon High School will open in the Horizon West area in the western part of Orange County.

District facility officials told the school board this week that the two new high schools are among four additional high schools that Orange County will need to open in the next 10 years, if long-range projections for the 200,000-student school system hold true.

High schools won’t be the only need in the growing district. The projections also show that Orange County will need four new middle schools, 13 new elementary schools and one K-8 school.

The district, the nation’s ninth-largest, says that in the past decade, it has built, replaced or renovated 102 schools, more than half of its 202 schools. For facilities set to open in 2024 or later, Orange County is developing new prototype designs that will incorporate the latest technology and safety measures.

Funding for the district’s construction program comes from a half-cent sales tax and residential development impact fees.

Building additional classrooms has enabled Orange County to reduce its reliance on portable classrooms. The facilities department says the district now is using 1,943 portables, and that number is expected to drop to 1,855 in 2021-22. Portable use has been slashed by more than half since 2006, when 4,337 portable classrooms were being used.

In addition to providing needed space for students, the district’s construction efforts have been beneficial to the local economy. Officials estimate that the economic impact of the school system’s capital projects between 2014 and 2021 has been $1.74 billion in local expenditures, $2.66 billion in local output and an average of 2,185 jobs a year.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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