Mar 4, 2024 - News

Hillsborough County to rebuild Just Elementary

A conceptual design of the rebuilt Just Elementary and Stewart Middle School in West Tampa.

A conceptual design of the rebuilt Just Elementary and Stewart Middle School. Photo: Courtesy of Hillsborough County Public Schools

Hillsborough County Public Schools has unveiled its plans to rebuild Just Elementary and Stewart Middle School.

Why it matters: The announcement comes almost a year after the county shuttered the West Tampa elementary school — a controversial move that drew pushback from parents, educators and community leaders.

  • The new schools will be the first built in "Tampa's urban core" since Blake High School opened 30 years ago, per the district.

Catch up quick: Just had declining academic performance and enrollment when the school board closed it in June. Stewart is a "successful science magnet school," the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Driving the news: The plan is to raze most of Just and Stewart's buildings for a new campus. The district anticipates spending $70 million on the project.

  • Despite sharing a campus, Just and Stewart will remain independent. The idea is to provide a "seamless experience" from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, the district says.
  • The schools are slated to open in fall 2027.

What they're saying: Our goal is "to provide our children and families with the best educational experience possible to position them for success in life," Hillsborough schools Superintendent Van Ayres says.

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