The Homestead Community gathered to kick off improvements to the West Homestead K-8 Center thanks to the passage of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Bond Referendum and funds from the City of Homestead Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).
Principal Tammy S. Edouard welcomed attendees to her school and thanked Homestead for its commitment to education. Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools, pledged his continued support for schools throughout the County and applauded the City of Homestead for its efforts to improve area education.
"As an educator, I know that modern, clean, and safe environments are an important component to successful teaching and learning," said Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough, chair of Homestead’s Education Committee. “This investment in education reaffirms the city's commitment to building education by helping to build better facilities and futures for our students."
In 2012, Miami-Dade County Public Schools asked county voters to invest in their schools by approving the issuance of a $1.2 billion bond for renovating facilities, updating technology, building school replacements, expanding student capacity, and enhancing facility safety. The community let their voices be heard, and nearly 70% of those voting supported the measure. The City of Homestead CRA built on this momentum by allocating $775,000 towards the West Homestead K-8 Center Project.
The School is within the CRA area, but this is a unique move, as CRA funds have not historically been used for education. Other improvements in the area include nearby Blakey Park, which was renovated in March of 2014. For years, the park held nothing but a running track. Today, residents can enjoy two brand new playgrounds, two picnic pavilions, and a variety of fitness stations around the running track.
“With projects like this we’re changing the perception of Homestead in general and the Southwest community in particular,” said Mayor Jeff Porter. “This is a place where our kids will get a quality education and be able to excel anywhere. I want to thank you all for your commitment to building a brighter future for Homestead.”
The West Homestead K-8 Center renovation project will include select building demolition, new construction of additional general purpose and science classrooms to achieve the school’s full conversion to a K-8 center, accommodating approximately 270 middle school students. The project also includes art and dining patios, P.E. spaces, playgrounds, remodeling of the existing remaining buildings to include HVAC system improvements, classroom remodeling, covered walkways, and parking and site improvements.