Lakeland made history on Friday with the school district’s closing on land for school development.
Representatives from Lakeland School System and the Jones-Gilliland Group LLC signed final closing documents to complete the purchase and sale of 94 acres of land for $1 million. The site will hold a new Lakeland middle school by August 2018 and will eventually be the site of a comprehensive middle/high school facility. [Update: The school district has proposed moving the opening date up to August 2017, as of the February school board work session.]
“While our short-term and immediate needs are for a middle school, we are making a long-term investment in a beautiful site that will eventually accommodate our middle and high school students,” said superintendent Dr. Ted Horrell.
The site is north of U.S. 70, east of Canada Road and south of Old Brownsville Road, and it has been in the Rudolph Jones family for more than 140 years.
“Mr. Jones is a thoughtful custodian of his family’s property, and we are honored and excited that he was willing to part with such a wonderful and historic piece of property,” Horrell said. “… We intend to build a school that will make everyone in Lakeland proud.”
Horrell is working with architects and engineers from A2H and Renaissance Group, both of Lakeland, to finalize the middle school’s schematic design. He expects the design team to make a presentation to the school board within weeks.
Lakeland School System currently oversees one K-5 school, Lakeland Elementary. The city’s middle and high school students attend schools in Arlington Community Schools and Bartlett City Schools through interlocal agreements with those systems.