There was no road. No water. Just land. Empty land in Viera. South of Wickham Road. West of I-95.
Quest Elementary School in Viera had reached 117 percent capacity, so the school board and Brevard Public Schools decided to do something about it.
Thus, the idea and conception of a new elementary school in Viera came to life.
"For the first time, a school was built a year early," said Matt Susin, the School Board member for District 4. "It’s insane. But, we answered the call to the community."
"Sue Hann (Deputy Superintendent of facilities and construction) and Dr. Mark Mullins (Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools) made it happen. We board members come up with ideas. But it takes the staff to do it," Susin said. "And, not many companies like Wharton-Smith can knock it out. They have been working seven days a week."
"We’re trying to get ahead of the schedule as much as possible," said Johnathan Wilkes, the project executive operations, management support for Wharton-Smith, Inc. "The building has been topped out and we’re filling in the structure to get it dried in. After Thanksgiving, we’ll be putting on the roofing panels."
Drone footage of the construction process is updated weekly on the website at brevardschools.org/Page/15422. "Architectural models of the interior of the school and a virtual tour of the inside of the school" also will soon be included, wrote Hann in an email.
The construction of the new Viera elementary school, according to Susin via text message, was roughly less than $22 million and was paid debt-free with impact fees. "Which is how it’s supposed to be."
The new school building will accommodate up to 970 students, with an anticipated 600 students attending upon the opening of its doors at the onset of the 2020-2021 school year.
Adrienne Schwab, the current principal at Meadowland Intermediate, recently was named the school’s principal.
"It is an honor and privilege to be appointed as the principal for the new South Viera Elementary school. … I am looking forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders and the community to create a standard of excellence for today’s modern classroom that focuses on student engagement, innovative instruction and learning for all," Schwab wrote in a press release.
"The new security design is an upgrade from our existing schools and is arguably the best in the state. We’re also the first school to have a lactation room. The school will be getting an award by the Florida Association of Lactation Consultants when the school opens," Susin added. The school also will feature a separate 10-foot wide golf cart path, accessible from Stadium Parkway.
At the present time, the school will only have a hard boundary for the surrounding non-built-out areas of Viera.
"Manatee is at nearly 100 percent and Suntree is at 95 percent. We don’t want to take away from families who want to stay at their home school. We don’t want to rezone. The first step is that we’re taking care of our people," said Susin, who is looking for input from the community. "This will be up for community discussion for the next two-and-a-half months," he said.