Innovation Montessori Ocoee Celebrates the Grand Opening of its 18-Acre Campus
OCOEE, Fla. – January 20, 2018 – Innovation Montessori Ocoee (formerly known as Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School) held a grand opening party and ribbon cutting event attended by more than 300 people marking the completion of construction on its 18-acre campus today. Event attendees included families and students, local officials including Ocoee Commissioner John Grogan and City Commissioners, the Honorable Betsy VanderLey, Orange County Commissioner – District 1, Joe Bruno, President of Building Hope, the school’s Washington D.C. based project developer and funding partner, the Governing Board of Directors, and school administration and faculty among other distinguished guests.
The campus facility is comprised of three buildings that offer a total of 47,000 square feet of climate-controlled space and two innovative outdoor play areas offering students 60,000 square feet of space to spread out and discover the world around them. The recently completed buildings include the two-story, 34,000 square foot Main building for students in grades one through eight that includes Music, Art, and Science rooms and the main administrative offices. The adjacent single story Multipurpose building offers 4,000 square feet of flex space for various school programs and larger student gatherings. The completed campus will allow the school to expand enrollment from the current 475 students to 800 students over the next few years.
“Dreams do come true,” said Sherilyn Moore, Governing Board President, Innovation Montessori Ocoee. “This innovation-filled campus not only provides an optimal learning environment in nature to explore, but it also inspires students to dream big. This critical moment in our growth as a school would not have been possible without Building Hope’s funding and above-and-beyond support, or without the City of Ocoee’s Mayor and officials who have become great partners,” said Moore.
The school is staffed by over 50 passionate educational professionals, dedicated to the ideal of a public Montessori education. This team worked tirelessly through the 2017 holidays to ensure their large, bright classrooms were beautiful for first through eighth grade students arriving to the new campus for the first time on January 8th.
The school facilities have uncommon features such as numerous large windows in classrooms that bring in sunlight and unobstructed views of the natural landscape which includes 200 carefully selected and preserved trees that originated on the property in addition to the existing 4.5 acre nature preserve. Solar panels are installed on the Multipurpose building roof with plans for the Primary building roof and a ground mount array behind the Main building and will eventually power the entire facility. Pollution-eating paint on the Primary building allows the facility itself to eliminate pollution like the trees. Irrigation for the campus-wide landscape comes from an on-site pond creating a closed-loop system that is environmentally friendly.
“The educational model at this school honors a remarkable Italian woman – Maria Montessori. She would have been proud to see this program unfold in an environment that respects nature and embraces innovation,” said Joe Bruno, President, Building Hope. “We’ve invested over $250 million dollars in charter schools over the past 14 years and this project may be the finest we’ve been involved in. The strength of our partnership and the quality education offered to so many students from all over the county is a wonderful fit for these beautiful, spacious buildings and innovative campus environment,” said Bruno.
More than 300 students in first through eighth grade enjoy a 45,000 square foot play area with features like kinetic energy generating playground equipment and a custom made “human hamster wheel” made by a local company, Be the Hamster. A large, energy-producing SmartFlower with long solar petals that open with sunlight and close at dusk will tie into the main facility power grid and is a focal point of the play area and the first install in Florida, according to the manufacturer. Top-of-the-line playground equipment was partially funded by a $15,000 grant from the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group/KaBOOM! and installed by parents, faculty, Board and PTO members and the Ocoee Fire Department.
Last August, the 8,000 square foot Primary building opened providing learning space in five classrooms for the 150 PreK through Kindergarten students. The outdoor attached 15,000 square foot fenced play area provides students with ample space to play in the grass field, large circular Trike Track and equipment including Lumi kinetic riders which generate light based on usage, encouraging kids to spend more time playing.
About Innovation Montessori Ocoee
Innovation Montessori Ocoee began as Montessori of Winter Garden Charter School in 2011 in a rented suite of a strip mall. Seven years later, the school has grown to more than 475 PreK- eighth grade students with a waiting list of over 800 children. Eighth grade launched in fall 2017. Innovation Montessori of Ocoee is a public, non-profit charter school created for children, by parents, using one of the most child-centered and effective educational philosophies in the world – Montessori. Children are at the heart of everything we do and the best interests of our students are the basis of every decision we make.
For more information, please visit www.innovationmontessori.com.
Innovation Montessori Ocoee