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Gainesville moves forward with Mundy Mill school plan
Board members mull IB options
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Preliminary architectural drawings of a possible Mundy Mill area school will be available for the Gainesville Board of Education to review at its next meeting March 18.

It will be a second look at what a new school might offer to the school district and its growing south Gainesville area. The board voted to move forward in the discussion process. The original drawings from 2007 were developed with 650 students and a building on a 17-acre plot in mind.

“It is the consensus we are moving forward, but not a blanket authorization,” board member David Syfan said.

Originally, the land was donated by a developer. After the housing bubble burst and the nation’s economy turned upside down, the land was foreclosed on. Later, Butler Property acquired it, and developer Wendell Starke returned the land to the school system. But there is a new agreement: The school needs to be built by 2020.

Several years ago, plans were under examination to implement an International Baccalaureate school at the Mundy Mill site. The concept of an IB school is to develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills of students, promoting intercultural understanding and respect as an essential part of life in the 21st century. There are more than 1,400 IB schools in the United States, including Fair Street IB World School in the Gainesville system.

Syfan said he is concerned that even more money will be needed to move forward.

Another aspect of reintroducing the plan is the investigation of an environmental study that might have to be reissued.

“We need to revisit that study,” said Christine Brosky, director of development. “It is uncertain how long the environmental study is good for.”

Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said the board of education determines the concept of all Gainesville City Schools.

“I have heard many people say we should consider a world language core,” said board Vice Chairwoman Delores Diaz.

Board members also discussed a career-based focus or a program of choice.

Until the information is fully discussed and re-examined, “no dirt will be moved,” Diaz said.