Orange County opens new schools as student population grows

Five brand-new schools are opening in Orange County this year as more people move to Central Florida.

Six-year-old Amelia Turner jumped for joy as she visited Panther Lake Elementary during her first visit to her new classroom. "It looked amazing!" Her mother Jacqueline said. "It’s just all new, it’s so exciting. We’re excited for the whole year."

"It was great to be able to hire our staff. I got to handpick every single teacher that is here." Opening a new school is also exciting for Principal Christine Szymanski. 

There are a total of 210 schools in Orange County. 

"We’re relieving three schools, and they’re relatively new, so you can just see the growth in this area is tremendous."

Orange County Public Schools spokesperson Lauren Roth said three out of the five new schools are in Horizon West, where the population is increasing quickly. In Orange County, there’s a total of 209,000 students this year, compared to 206,000 last year. 

"Since voters approved the half-penny sales tax, we’ve opened 64 new relief schools and renovated or replaced another 132 schools."

Administrators said all the new schools have TV studios, so the students can do the news every morning. They also have their own studio lightning. There’s also a fountain that fills water bottles, LED lights, and energy-saving windows, as well as state-of-the-art equipment for students like Amelia to use.

"It’s gonna be great!" Jacqueline said.

Classes start on August 10. Administrators said some locations are so new that they aren't on several GPS locators. They recommend using Google Maps because they reach out to them specifically with locations.