The School Board is moving forward with plans to build a new middle school in Viera, but the facility is not expected to open for another five years.
Susan Hann, district director of project planning and management, told the board at a workshop meeting last week that a new elementary school for the area is a higher priority.
“Our assessment at this point is that we would plan to open no earlier than August of 2023,” Hann said. “That’s sort of the planning horizon that we’re working toward with the middle school.”
A new middle school could take pressure off of Delaura Middle School, which is expected to be at capacity by then.
The school has 819 students enrolled this year. Of those, about 300 come from the mainland, where Delaura’s boundaries stretch along the north side of Pineda Causeway to Interstate 95 and through Suntree to the north of Wickham Road.
While the bulk of Viera’s seventh- and eighth-graders are currently served by Kennedy Middle School in Rockledge and Viera Charter School, a new middle school in Viera proper could lead to redistricting that would alleviate future overcrowding at Delaura.
Delaura’s enrollment is already projected to grow to about 950 by 2023, thanks to new housing being built in Satellite Beach and the desirability of highly ranked beachside schools.
The Viera Co. announced earlier this year plans to build some 3,300 new housing units in the planned community by 2022. That prompted School Board Member Matt Susin to ask district staff to present a plan for handling the expected influx of students in that area.
Hann said the new homes will likely have a huge impact on schools.
“We’re looking at between 700 and 900 school children that will be coming our way in the next four to five years,” she said.
Plans for the new elementary school in Viera, meanwhile, are being fast-tracked due to growth. The board hopes to start the design process in just a few weeks.
Both the elementary and middle school projects were included in a five-year construction and maintenance plan passed by the board at its regular meeting on Oct. 23.