March 29, 2021 – Could the Duval County Public School administration building be moving off the river?
The district moved to the Southbank in 1980 when their next-door neighbor was a massive industrial, JEA electrical generating facility.
Fast forward 41 years. With the Southbank now being developed for residential and commercial purposes, the Duval County School Board wants to see if the timing is right for a move.
Earlier this year, the School Board approved a resolution to explore that possibility. The district plans to issue a solicitation for an external consultant to look at costs, revenues, and all the other potential factors that will go into making the decision and help determine if a potential deal makes good financial sense.
“We know there’s an interest in this area, but we have to make the most conscientious decision in this matter and do what is best for our students, parents, employees and other stakeholders,” said Paul Soares, Assistant Superintendent of Operations. “We have a list of requirements to consider before we make any final decisions.”
The district will solicit for a consultant through an invitation-to-negotiate(ITN) process. That ITN will be on the street in April. The evaluation process will last through June with a recommended award going to the school board in July. The consultant will do their work for the rest of 2021, and the district will determine next steps in early 2022.
The consultant will help the district understand the revenue potential of its current riverfront site and quantify the square footage and functional needs of its district administrative functions.
They will also help the district determine how other buildings the district already owns might work in a final solution and assess other moving costs. The consultant will also help assess future sites for feasibility and alignment with the district’s needs.
“Relocating administrative offices would allow the building to be sold to a private company that would generate taxes and revenue, hence contributing to Jacksonville’s economy,” said Soares. “We recognize this and will continue to engage the community about how and if this can be accomplished. Bringing on a consultant was an important step in this endeavor.”
Under no circumstances would sales surtax dollars, recently approved by voters, be used to finance the district’s relocation.