PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County's newest high school in nearly 20 years is just days away from welcoming its first students.
After a long and contentious boundary battle, Dr. Joaquín García High School, located on Lyons Road, just north of Lantana Road in western Lake Worth, is opening its doors to about 1,700 students on Thursday.
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It's a high school that looks more like a small college campus.
Principal Oscar Otero on Tuesday gave WPTV education reporter Stephanie Susskind a tour of the school.
Two of Otero's favorite spots are the gym and media center, which they've named "Bulldog Commons," creating it as a true collaborative space for students to work.
The school has the newest technology from the classrooms to security.
The first-year enrollment is exceeding expectations as school leaders make their final touches to campus.
Otero said what he's most looking forward to is creating new traditions.
"It's the biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding," Otero said. "It's bringing students from all different parts of the county, teachers from all different parts of the county, and having everyone begin to identify as one new family and one new community."
Because this is a new high school, there is actually no senior class here. Upperclassmen were given the option to stay at their current high school, so there is plenty of room to grow for the Bulldogs.
This is the first school in Palm Beach County named after a Hispanic leader, Dr. Joaquín García, a founding member of the Hispanic Education Coalition of Palm Beach County who passed away in 2021.
Dr. Joaquín García High School will feature business information technology and medical sciences programs.
Another new Palm Beach County school opening Thursday is West Boynton Middle School, located off Boynton Beach Boulevard, just west of Florida's Turnpike.