The School Board of Broward County approved plans to demolish and replace Building 1 at James S. Rickards Middle School in Oakland Park, which was damaged by a roof collapse to its media center. School Board members also approved funding for repairs and renovations of two existing buildings on the school’s campus.
“As a School Board, we listened to families and the school community about how they wanted to move forward. We voted unanimously to create a portable campus while rebuilding the school,” said School Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood. “We understand how difficult it has been for the Rickards Middle School community and we appreciate the support of parents and staff for ensuring continuity of students’ instruction.”
While construction is expected to be a multi-year process, the School Board approved utilizing portables to accommodate the school’s needs while allowing continued use of the existing campus. This will include the addition of 30 portable classrooms, a media center portable, an administration portable, the cafeteria and restroom. Funding approved by the School Board for the Rickards Middle project, including the building replacement, renovations and portable campus, is approximately $79 million.
“The School Board and District put students and families first as the plan was developed for Rickards Middle,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Cartwright. “Understanding how important it is for students to be connected with their friends, the three years estimated for construction would seem like a lifetime to be apart from their peers. The creation of a portable campus allows students to be together and provides a plan for teachers, administrators and staff to continue to meet students’ needs.”
The school’s approximately 950 students will attend neighboring schools to start the school year with plans for 7th and 8th grade students to return to the Rickards Middle campus once the portable campus is set up.
Students will temporarily use neighboring schools. Details are bulleted below:
- 6th grade students will start the school year at William Dandy Middle School. Plans are for the students to return to the Rickards Middle campus in September 2021 when repairs and renovations for two existing buildings are expected to be ready for occupancy. (The two buildings were not impacted by the roof collapse.)
- 7th grade students will start the school year at Lauderdale Lakes Middle School.
- 8th grade students will start their year at Northeast High School.
- Both 7th and 8th grade students will return to the Rickards Middle campus once the portables have been installed, which is anticipated prior to January 2022.
- School start and end times for 6th and 7th grade students at William Dandy Middle and Lauderdale Lakes Middle will be 9:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
- School start and end times for 8th grade students attending Northeast High will be 8:10 a.m. to 2:40 p.m.
“The administration and staff of James S. Rickards Middle School are grateful to the School Board and District administration for ensuring new and renovated facilities are provided to our students and community,” said Rickards Middle Principal Dr. Washington Collado. “We have proven that we are resilient and our school spirit extends beyond our school campus.”
The District will provide transportation for all students whose temporary school locations are beyond two miles from their homes. Students will be able to participate in the Food and Nutrition Services meal program, and existing athletics and extracurricular activities.
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