St Johns County public schools will open two new K-8 state of the art elementary schools in 2014. In the process they will change the landscape of current zoning in northern St. Johns County.
The new schools will be located in Durbin Crossing, to the North West just off St. Johns Parkway on Long Leaf Pine, and in Nocatee off 210 West. The board of education has been taking suggestions from community members and will decide on names for the schools this March but until then Durbin is known officially as HH and Nocatee as II.
The district has made it easy for local neighborhood residents to discover where their home is zoned. Simply click on to St Johns County Public Schools website and plug in a home address. You can click on zoning maps for the current elementary, middle and high schools.
St. Johns County Public Schools Director of Community Relations, Christina Langston says the district does not anticipate any new zone changes prior to the 2014-2015 school year. Ms. Langston noted that St. Johns County is the fastest growing school district in the state, with students performing so well on standardized tests it has an A+ rating in the state of Florida. The new schools are located within communities surrounded by pristine wooded forests, nearby ball fields and offer families a lifestyle of resort living where families can live work play and children can walk and ride their bike to school.
North West K-8 HH will be zoned for Durbin Crossing North and Durbin Crossing South. Aberdeen is slated for a future school but is currently zoned for Bartram Trail. Sitting on 25 acres the Durbin Crossing k-8 is adjacent to four baseball fields, 2 multi-purpose fields and 3 sports fields along with a skateboarding park and park for dogs! All of this in walking distance to the neighboring homes.
One couple looking for the right community in St Johns County said they found Durbin Crossing was just the perfect place for them. “We can walk to everything without leaving our neighborhood. The parks, the pool, the amenities are in walking distance to the new elementary school. Our kids like their school friends within biking distance and we love the small-town feel of Durbin”.
St. Johns County Sheriff James Jackson, recently moved to Durbin. “Living in Durbin Crossing has been great. Its got so many nature preserves, that you forget your in a neighborhood. I am happy kids will be able to walk and ride their bike to their own neighborhood school.”
Emily Harrison formerly the principal at Alice B. Landrum Middle will be the new Principal at the school in Durbin Crossing. “I am excited about having the opportunity to work with both elementary school students, creating a successful connected campus model and preparing students for the lives they will lead beyond their formative and transitional years” said Harrison. “The K-8 model presents families within a community a unique chance to watch growth develop over the course of many years”
Nocatee, located in the northeast pocket of Ponte Vedra, is the site of the other K-8 II, with the same prototype as K-8 school (HH). As of January 2014, zoning will include both Nocatee and non Nocatee residents, including Greenleaf Village, GreenLeaf Preserve, Austin Park and Willow Cove, Non residents of Nocatee at Walden Chase, Quail Ridge. The Oaks and Florentine will all go to the new school K-8 school. Ocean Palm Elementary students will include those families in Coastal Oakes, Enclave, Kelly Pointe, Lakeside at Town Center and Tidewater.
Nocatee resident newcomer Barbara Walters knows all to well how resort style living meets a small town neighborhood feeling. The effervescent Welcome Lady at the Newcomer Center said she came from California looking for resort style living with a diverse group of people. “I love the various amenities, the nature preserves, biking paths and I really enjoy being close to the beach, stores and cultural center. Nocatee truly has something for everyone. “
Wayne King, formerly the Principal at St Johns Technical High School will now serve as the new principal at the Nocatee school. According to Spokeswoman Christina Langston, both schools will keep incoming eighth graders at their current schools for transitional purposes. “ I feel honored and privileged to have the opportunity to open a new school and believe my vast experience in middle and high school settings will help me prepare elementary students for a smooth transition to their secondary grade levels,” said King.
Green features such as those used at Palencia Elementary, which was completed two years ago, will be the prototype for both K-8 schools in Durbin and Nocatee. The two-story school concept will include state of the art technology, an indoor gym and an outdoor pavilion playground. According to Paul Rose, Executive Director for Facilities & New Construction the schools will be eco friendly, with green building standards and energy conservation including an energy efficient ice-cooling air conditioning system, interior and exterior lighting sensors and highly reflective roofing; all part of an overall energy management system.
The schools will each house approximately1000 students and have 58 classrooms. Each school will have 3 wings with 13 classrooms in each, as well as an extended learning area that includes a kitchen, a tech area and art space. The schools will also have separate rooms for art and band. The latest technology will be accessible from every classroom with built-in sound enhancement systems that project the teacher’s voice or the lesson throughout the room. Ceiling mounted projectors help incorporate live, technology-based lessons directly on whiteboards.
Ms. Langston reports that the district anticipates a community night in Fall 2014 when everyone is welcome to see the schools first hand. For more information go to: http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/rules/zoning/
St. Johns Magazine blog features articles written by & about the people, places and events of St. Johns and the surrounding communities.