The Osceola County (Fla.) district is ready to open a new high school campus that is being touted as the state's first net-zero-energy K-12 public school.
The Osceola News-Gazette reports that NeoCity Academy, a partnership between the district, the University of Central Florida and BRIDG, an area high-tech facility, will open its new campus next week in KIssimmee, Fla.
The school, situated in Osceola County's high-tech NeoCity corridor, will focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects and provide an immersive learning environment in advanced manufacturing and engineering, biomedical engineering, and cybersecurity.
NeoCity Academy has been designed to use 76 percent less energy than a regular school; savings are expected to exceed $115,000 a year on energy costs. With 650 self-ballasted solar panels on the roof of the school, the campus will generate more power than it consumes on an annual bases.
Design elements geared toward enhancing student performance include air purification technology, enhanced lighting, daylighting, collaboration laboratories and breakout spaces.
In lieu of a kitchen or cafeteria, the school incorporates a food cantina truck that reduces operational costs.
Most of the students who applied to NeoCity, which is a magnet program open to youngsters from across Osceola County, have excelled in math in middle school and want something more in depth for high school, The Orlando Sentinel reports.
“I think they were looking for something that was different,” says Principal Michael Meechin says. "I think they’re looking for a challenge.”
The academy opened last year in space on Gateway High School’s campus.
“I think they were looking for something that was different,” Meechin said. "I think they’re looking for a challenge.”
The school will have about 230 students, with just ninth and 10th graders enrolled this year. It is expected to grow to 500 in two years, when it has all high school grades.
The architect for NeoCIty Academy is Little.