Sebastian Charter Junior High gets expansion approval

SEBASTIAN – Sebastian’s City Council Chambers erupted with applause when their proposal to build a new structure for Sebastian River Junior High was approved on Thursday night.  

Most of the estimated 150 people attending Thursday’s Planning and Zoning were there to show its collective support for the school.

“I have to say that it is an honor and a pleasure to see this many people in the audience tonight,” said Planning and Zoning Board Chair Larry Paul. “Usual Planning and Zoning commission meetings, they are very – I hate to say dull – but they aren’t very exciting.  People have a tendency to want to watch TV rather than watch us, so it is good to see everyone here this evening.”

Established in 2000, Sebastian Charter Junior High is a free public school located on Wave Street in Sebastian.  The school is currently comprised of several portable units which have been repaired and re-repaired over the last several years.

Sebastian Charter Junior High services 160 students spread over sixth, seventh, and eight grade and is open to all Indian River County students.  Enrollment could increase to 270 students after the school’s $3 million project is completed.

The project approved by the Sebastian Planning and Zoning Board will house 16,500 square feet of classroom space and will add a 3,530-square-foot multi-purpose cafeteria.  An administration building, a concrete open courtyard, improvements to the student drop-off area, and an improved parking area are also in the plans.

Sebastian resident John Maylie was the only voice of dissent this night, as he was concerned about increased traffic expansion would bring.

“I am concerned about Wave Street,” Maylie said.  “After school, you have cars backed up on Wave clear to Flemming.  You can hardly get through, and it is a dangerous situation.  How many parents are picking up their children?  When they increase (enrollment) to 270 children, how much more traffic can we expect?”

Otherwise, the Planning and Zoning Board and most everyone else in attendance was ecstatic with the result of the Board’s unanimous vote to send the project to Sebastian City Council for approval.

“It’s been a difficult climb at some moments, and it has taken us two and a half years to get here,” Sebastian Charter Junior High Board Chairman and President John Rivera said.  “It’s a 5-0 vote in favor of the community, and this is what it is all about”

Sebastian Charter Junior High has progressed on the FCAT over the years, from first testing out as a C school starting in 2003 to an A+ school over the past five years.  Teachers at the school have an average of 13.2 years of experience, and the schools board of directors serve on a volunteer basis.

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