Home News St. Lucie County schools planning building boom in Tradition to handle enrollment growth

St. Lucie County schools planning building boom in Tradition to handle enrollment growth

St. Lucie County schools planning building boom in Tradition to handle enrollment growth

ST. LUCIE COUNTY — Three new schools are planned here over the next five years, primarily to address growth, particularly in the southwest area of the county near Tradition.

The new schools are expected to cost the district about $218 million, which will come from the district’s capital-outlay budget, loans, sales-taxe revenues and impact fees, said Chief Operating Officer Terence O’Leary. 

This year, St. Lucie County added 2,104 students — a 4.5% jump. Between the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years, the district grew by 1,316 students, state records show. 

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An artist's rendering of the planned high school in Tradition in St. Lucie County.

“Here in St.  Lucie County, we continue to grow at a very rapid pace,” O’Leary said. Two-thirds of the county’s growth is in the southwest, where there currently is no high school, he said. 

“All our other high schools (are) at capacity, so we’ll be able to make some adjustments to make sure we’re meeting student needs,” he said.

Residential growth in St. Lucie County is a contributor to the increase in enrollment, according to Superintendent Jon Prince. Thousands of homes are being built, which brings more families to the district, he said. Another factor, according to Prince,  is St. Lucie’s low dropout rate and high student achievement on state tests.

In March, the school district expects to break ground on a yet-to-be-named high school at 14505 S.W. Crosstown Parkway, said O’Leary. The $80 million to $84 million school is expected to open August 2025 and accommodate about 2,000 students. 

The district is trying to save on costs where possible, O’Leary said. The new high school will use the same designs as Fort Pierce Central and Treasure Coast high schools, with minor tweaks, he said. 

College and career-readiness programs are planned for the new school, incorporating programs in the medical field, including dental and physical therapy, O’Leary said. It also will have a focus on vocational programs in the manufacturing and logistics fields because of the businesses such as Amazon and FedEx that have opened near Tradition, he said. 

By October, the district plans to begin building a new Fort Pierce Westwood High School on the existing school’s site, also using the same designs, O’Leary said. Also costing an estimated $80 million to $84 million, it is expected to be completed by December 2025. 

The Westwood replacement is intended to ensure equity among all the district’s high schools, he said. 

Built in 1977, Westwood is the oldest high school in the district and needs refurbishing, he said. 

An artist's rendering of the new St. Lucie County high school auditorium.

A $50 million K-8 school is planned to open in 2027, also in the Tradition area, O’Leary said. Currently, there is no K-8 school in that part of the county, he said. 


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