Students start school year at Palm Beach County’s newest school

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 8:25 AM EDT
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The School District of Palm Beach County’s newest school opened to students Wednesday in Boca Raton.

Blue Lake Elementary School, located on North Military Trail across from Lynn University and next to Don Estridge High Tech Middle School, is district's 180th school.

It’s the first new public school to open in Palm Beach County since Everglades Elementary School opened its doors in West Palm Beach in 2010.

Blue Lake Elementary School was built on 15 acres of land donated by the city of Boca Raton. Mayor Scott Singer said he saw an opportunity and ran with it.

The school is helping to relieve overcrowding at area Boca Raton elementary schools.

The nearly 700 students who walked through the doors on the first day of school Wednesday primarily came from Calusa Elementary School, Verde K-8 School, and J.C. Mitchell Elementary School.

"It was really very overwhelming," said parent Jack Maguire. "There's a lot of technology here and I liked seeing some of the stuff and I think it's pretty cool."

"The school is beautiful," said parent Ann Taylor Clawson. "All the technology is new, so we're really excited to start here today."

Superintendent Mike Burke said having everything shiny and new not only inspires him, but the students as well, and keeps everyone moving forward.

"I'm encouraged by the growth," Burke said. "I think you want to be in a school district that is growing, much better than one that is declining. So I welcome the growth."

"We got the new public school because of hustle," Singer said. "We saw there was money in the school district budget, but no land located for it and that’s what I approached (school board) Chair Barbieri. If we give you the land will you give us the school? And that set up the year-long process to get the school approval leading up to all of the construction until today."

A new school comes with its own set of perks, too. Besides everything being clean and fresh, the three-story campus has the highest levels of technology and safety measures in place for people coming onto the property.

"Even though they go into the main office, there is no way to get into the main school unless we buzz them out or we have a badge for that," Principal Seth Moldovan said. "Blue Lake has been built to the specifications to keep our children and our staff as safe as possible and we're always looking for ways to improve that."

Fifth grade students now zoned for Blue Lake Elementary School had the option to stay at their previous school for their final year. There are only two classrooms of fifth graders for this first year at Blue Lake, leaving room to grow. The school has space for close to 1,000 students.

Classrooms are full of technology — like flat panel screens — and the school has a gifted program. In addition, the state-of-the-art media center is filled with $150,000 worth of library books.

This is just the beginning to address growth throughout Palm Beach County. A new middle school in west Boynton Beach and new high school in western Lake Worth are both set to open at the start of next school year.

Scripps Only Content 2022