- September 24, 2021
A Swedish construction company has taken on the building of a new $19.5 million campus for a Hillsborough County school for children with emotional and behavioral needs.
Skanska, whose local office built the University of South Florida Health’s Morsani College of Medicine & Heart Institute at Water Street; Julian B. Lane Park in Tampa; and the St. Pete Pier, is now building the replacement for the Dorothy Thomas Exceptional Center.
The K-12 school, according to its website, is for children “in need of intense behavioral, social and emotional support.”
The project will total 40,000 square feet and replace 12 classrooms with new structures that include windows placed higher up to allow for natural light and that will be painted in muted blues, greens and yellows. The colors and windows are designed to cut down on distractions and to calm the about-60 students who attended the school.
“The goal is to deliver a school campus that will meet the needs of students who learn best in a supportive and safe environment, free of auditory and visual distractions,” Skanska says in a statement.
Construction on the school began in March and is expected to be complete by August 2023.
On May 13, the school posted a photo of a construction crew on its Twitter page. “Drumroll please,” the message reads, “the first wall is UP on our new school.”
Skanska, in the statement, says in-use and existing classrooms were moved to the other side of the campus before starting work and that it is monitoring noise levels because some students are sensitive to loud noises.
Skanska is a Swedish-based company with 29 offices in the U.S., including one on North Ashley Drive in Tampa as well as in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
The school, then on Lake Magdalene Drive, was formerly called the Hillsborough County Juvenile Home. It was renamed in 1949 for Thomas, a Canadian who moved to Tampa in 1922 and was heavily involved in educational and community issues.