Orange County (Florida) district plans renovation of century-old facility

April 18, 2024
The former Cherokee School is to become a center for arts and entertainment education.

The Orange County (Florida) school district plans to restore a historic building in downtown Orlando to use for arts and entertainment education.

The Orlando Business Journal reports that the district has issued a request for qualifications for architectural and engineering services for the Cherokee School building.

The two-story, roughly 78,000-square-foot building was constructed as a junior high school in 1926 on the 3.27-acre site. The school district most recently used the building for exceptional student education (for students with disabilities or those who are gifted) through spring 2021. It has been empty since then.

Andy Orrell, facilities spokesman for the district, says the arts and entertainment education building will include spaces for "new and emerging arts; video production for social media, television and movies; and two- and three-dimensional digital design."

A construction cost estimate will be generated as a part of the design process, which should start in September. Roughly $60 million will be budgeted for site work, basic architectural development and infrastructure needs.

Design for the campus is expected to be finished in spring 2026, with construction to start that summer. The project should reach substantial completion in spring 2028.

Orange County, with 207,993 students, is the fourth-largest school district in Florida and eighth largest in the United States. It has more than 210 schools and 24,685 employees.

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