PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County is opening two new schools this year — both in the western part of the county — and addressing overcrowding at nearby schools.
West Boynton Middle School, located off Boynton Beach Boulevard, just west of Florida's Turnpike, has been in the works for more than 10 years, and is already bringing a new sense of pride to the community.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Education
The "Hive," the home of the West Boynton Middle School Stingers, was a labor of love to get off the ground. Now the school is ready to welcome students on Thursday.
"We’re gonna have them pushing the bar big time. So you’ll see that in any classroom you walk into," proud principal Joe Peccia said.
Peccia said this school is taking education and the student experience to the next level. And he's thought of everything, from changing the color schemes of desks and chairs depending on the class.
"As they walk into the room, subconsciously they are already adapting to that subject area," Peccia said.
To stadium seating and infusing electronic sports, or "esports," into teaching information technology.
"The kids are really going to dive in deeper to all these programming and software pieces and bring such a new experience to life," Peccia said.
It's a class Michael Flenniken is looking forward to.
"I'm going to a technology one that I’m really excited about," Flenniken said. "And I went in there and it had a full thing of computers and chairs and everything."
The soon-to-be sixth grader said he's impressed with his new school.
"The open area with all the buildings, I thought it was great. And I’m really excited to come here," Flenniken said.
"It’s gonna be really fun," student Savannah Turner added.
Turner is most excited about the gym and fitness center, and the Stingers themselves.
"It’s a cool mascot, They did a really good job theming the place around it," Turner said.
While everything may be bright and new, school leaders know it's the people that really make the school shine.
"I can build a room like this, but unless I have the teachers to drive it, none of this means anything," Peccia said.
"It really is the heart. It’s the love of the community. It’s something the community has wanted for a very long time," said Palm Beach County School Board member Karen Brill, whose district covers west Boynton Beach.
Bringing swarms of Stingers to their new home for years to come.
"I am just over-the-top excited," Brill said. "The fact that we have some elementary schools that are totally feeding into here, the students will get to transition with their classmates here and then on to high school."
West Boynton Middle School has four buildings, including a three-story building for classrooms and a media center, a one-story art and gymnasium building, and a building for food service and the music program.
The curriculum features medical and information technology Choice Programs, as well as Exceptional Student Education and English for Speakers of Other Languages.
The other new Palm Beach County school opening Thursday is Dr. Joaquín García High School — located on Lyons Road, just north of Lantana Road in western Lake Worth — which is the county's newest high school in 18 years.