New high-tech school opens in Osceola County
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 35 ORLANDO) - High-tech labs, a food truck, purified air, and it's all solar-powered. Osceola County's new $18 million NeoCity Academy is not your granddad's high school. In fact, the school is Florida's first zero-energy school.
"Which means that we're producing more energy on a yearly basis than we consume as a school," said Michael Meechin, Principal, NeoCity Academy.
Producing more energy, thanks to 650 solar panels that cover every section of roof. The panels are saving the Osceola County School District $115,000 per year. Another way energy is being saved, is by swapping the cafeteria out with a food truck.
"We're able to get the kids fed, the same way we would in a normal cafeteria, just doing it a little more efficiently," said Meechin.
Inside the school walls, the open concept feels more like a college with large science and engineering labs and a so-called "mixer" space.
"It's our multi-purpose space, basically an assembly area for our students, whether that means eating lunch, hanging out between classes, working on projects together, large classroom, guest speakers," said Meechin.
What may be the most unique feature of the building is one you cannot see: the air, filtered of carbon dioxide, raising oxygen levels to help students learn and stay focused. An elaborate system is pumping the enhanced air through the building.
The school's curriculum focuses around three areas of study, advanced manufacturing/engineering, biomedical engineering and cyber security.
"Those are actually based on the Florida 2030 jobs report for the Central Florida area looking at the future job market and really where our students can help fill gaps, where those needs will be," said Meechin.
A hub of academics, situated at the center of a future hub of technology: Osceola County's NeoCity.
"You really couldn't ask for a better geographical location, than to be located in the neighborhood where some of the leading technology innovations are happening," said Meechin.
The school currently serves ninth and tenth grades, with about 230 students. Juniors and Seniors will be added in the coming years.