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Orlando Partners needs a school on a planned $1 billion, 1,200-acre mixed-use project, and the county needs an 18-acre site for a new middle school. But at $100,000 per acre, the developer’s asking price was in cyberspace for the Orange County School Board.

Now, after three years of negotiations, the developer is dropping the tag to $165,000 or $9,167 per acre (21 cents psf). Reason: the developer needs the school to accommodate families in the 8,000 new townhomes and single-family units planned on the former Orlando Naval Training Center site in east Orlando.

The deal isn’t in writing yet and hasn’t been approved by the school board. However, realtors familiar with the project tell GlobeSt.com the deal will be done by yearend. The property is at 801 Glenridge Way in Winter Park, an affluent Orlando suburb.

Although the school board may be getting the dirt at a bargain price, construction of the new two-story, Glenridge Middle School is estimated at $22 million, or about $16,296 per student for the 1,350 anticipated students.

The school could be open for the 2002 school year if there are no glitches in the land price negotiations and the weather cooperates, say school building officials.

Even after the new school is built, school board officials will face another dilemma: what to do with the existing, 55-year-old school currently housing 1,285 students.

School officials could convert the aging structure to a vocational-technical facility, or sell the building and the land outright. The school sits on dirt facing the Preserve at Windsong, a planned luxury shelter project where homes start at $1 million.

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