Groundbreaking For New Aviation High School

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Officials from Sun 'n Fun and the Polk County (Fla.) School Board broke ground Thursday for a $7.5 million facility that will provide a new home for the Central Florida Aerospace Academy, an aviation-oriented high school/career academy already located on the Sun 'n Fun campus. The 58,000-square-foot facility will house up to 500 high school students. Current facilities for the school have a maximum capacity of 175. "Sun 'n Fun is ecstatic to have such significant and inspirational support for an educational facility of this magnitude that underscores our organization's core values and is in lock step with our educational focus and mission," said Sun 'n Fun Board Chairman Bill Eickhoff. The project is funded by a grant from the Aviation Education Foundation, a Naples-based not-for-profit organization founded by James C. Ray.

John Small, director of workforce education, said students at the current academy show improved attendance and academic performance. "Students who come to school here don't want to leave at the end of the day!" he said. Along with aviation, they learn mathematics and physics in a stimulating environment. The new building is scheduled to open in August 2011.