Due to the growth of the school population this year, Winding Waters K8 School was in need of additional classrooms. The district reports that in August of 2021 there were over 200 more students than anticipated. Overall student enrollment throughout the entire district for the 21-22 school year is 23,415, while last year it was 22,621. Kindergarten through eighth grade saw an increase of 503 students (from the 20-21 school year to the 21-22 school year) according to Florida Department of Education reports. There are ten elementary schools and seven middle/K-8 schools in the district.
On Tuesday, March 22 a groundbreaking for a new building took place at the school on U.S. 19 North. School Superintendent John Stratton; school board members Gus Guadagnino, Kay Hatch and Linda Prescott; along with Karen Jordan, Public Information Officer for Hernando County schools; Winding Waters School Advisory Committee president Teri Lawson; outgoing WWK8 principal Janet Cerro; and incoming principal Cari O’Rourke attended the event.
Also attending were Alex Perez with Zyscovich Architects, the company that designed the building and John Cannata, Project Manager with T & G Constructors, the company that will build the addition. Most importantly, the current fourth-grade students who’ll be occupying the new building as fifth graders this fall were there to cheer on the project.
The 14,000 square foot building will add twelve new classrooms to the campus and will house more than 130 students. According to the Hernando County School District Information Office the addition will cost just under $4 million.
An announcement on its website stated, “Using funds generated from impact fees, district leaders were able to move the WWK8 addition up on the priority project list to accommodate the school’s growth. The addition is slated to open for students when the 2022-23 school year begins in August.”
“Our building committee is excited to share the beautiful addition with our students and community,” said WWK8 Principal Janet Cerro, who’ll be retiring at the end of the school year. “We appreciate everything the contractors and staff did to make the event [the groundbreaking] festive and special for our students.”
School board member Jimmy Lodato, in addressing the students, remarked, “I’m excited for you because of the future you’re going to have. I’m excited about what we’re doing here to give you the tools you need to be successful.”
T & G Contractors, with offices in Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and Delray Beach, has been in business since 1987. It has done work for other school districts, including Osceola and Palm Beach counties, and major corporations such as Walmart, Universal Studios, and Hyatt Hotels. Zyscovich Architects, one of the top twenty-five architectural firms in Florida, according to South Florida Business Journal, drew up the plans for the building. The firm has been in business for forty-four years and has designed buildings for everything from airports and schools to residential high rises and shopping centers.