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Expansion of Oasis schools on schedule

By Staff | Jul 14, 2011

New classroom furniture for Oasis elementary, middle and high school will be delivered on Monday to bring the expansion project, which began in December, one step closer to completion for the first day of school next month.
David Fiorillo, business manager for the city of Cape Coral Charter School Authority, said the finishing touches are now being done to 30 new classrooms and the beautiful two-story gym in time for Aug. 1, when teachers will return to the campus.
Paint was being applied to walls and rooms were being vacuumed Tuesday morning to help complete the expansion, which Fiorillo said will be an ongoing process for the next two weeks.
The expansion project includes two new buildings of 12 new classrooms, six on the bottom and top floor, each for the elementary school and middle school. The classrooms addition is accessible through the existing hallways of both schools.
Each classroom comes equipped with a Smart board for the teachers to use. All of the 12 new elementary classrooms also have a bathroom.
An “airnasium” was constructed between the elementary and middle school to provide teachers with the opportunity to bring learning outdoors under a shaded structure of more than 3,000 square feet.
The largest expansion of 32,388 square feet is the two-story gymnasium located directly behind the city operated charter high school. The gym houses six classrooms, two of which were made into a choir room that is equipped with risers and a sound-proof system.
In addition, the bottom floor also has boys and girls locker rooms, along with two offices for the coaches. A lobby, ticket booth, public bathrooms, a full-size regulation basketball court — the “Shark Tank,” and 800 stadium seats also are located on the bottom floor.
The second story has a community fitness room with a retractable wall for yoga classes. The fitness room and indoor cushioned walking track will be open to the public during the morning hours and after school hours to enjoy.
Fiorillo said the gym was designed so they could close off the rest of it after school closes, with a separate door that goes directly to the fitness room and track for the community to use.
The second floor of the gym also has five administrative offices. Fiorillo said due to the continued growth of the school, it was necessary to have the offices located together in a building.
He said green elements were added to the gym to keep the costs down.
In addition, Fiorillo said they also were able to add capacity to the high school cafeteria by knocking out a wall that used to house the weight room. He said the added space made the cafeteria 50 percent bigger, which will allow the school to decrease the lunch sections needed. An outside awning and seven tables were added, where the high school students can eat outdoors.
A hood system was installed in the cafeteria to keep the food fresher longer.
Fiorillo said due to the increase of financial support families needed for school lunches, the school applied for the National School Lunch Program and was accepted in April. The school will offer the program to students in the fall.
Five acres were cleared out for additional parking on the left side of Oasis Elementary School. The acreage also includes a wet, dry retention area. New landscape was added around all of the new structures.
To help the traffic flow during parent drop-off and pick-up, Fiorillo said three lanes were added behind the elementary school and middle school.
Due to the expansion of 30 classrooms, Fiorillo said the school was able to hire 25 new employees. In addition, he said the schools also was able to accept 400 incoming students.
Oasis Elementary School will have 830 students, which includes voluntary pre-K students, for the upcoming school year. The middle school has 790 students enrolled and the high school has 590 students enrolled for the fall.
The expansion project for Oasis elementary, middle and high school of 60,000 square feet began Dec. 17 after students were released for winter break. The official groundbreaking ceremony was held on Dec. 3.
The expansion project is being done by NDC Construction and Lawson Group Architects.
The total cost for the expansion is $7.5 million, which breaks down to $6.9 million for construction and $600,000 for new fixtures and equipment.
The bond for the project was issued by the city of Cape Coral, but the debt service is completely paid for through the Florida Educational Finance program’s per pupil state formula and about 40 percent from the capital outlay funds from the state.