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ORLANDO-Anxious to relieve overcrowding at the 1,835-student Discovery Middle School, the Orange County School Board has purchased a prime 26.5-acre parcel at the 911-acre Woodland Lakes mixed-use community being developed in the eastern section of the city by Lockheed Martin Corp.

The school board paid Orlando Central Park Inc., Lockheed Martin’s real estate subsidiary, $4.2 million, or $157,251 per acre, for the tract on Lake Underhill Road, just west of Alafaya Trail in a rapidly developing residential, commercial and retail hub.

Construction is expected to begin in first quarter 2004 with completion tentatively set for the opening of the school year in fall 2005.

“The middle school will be timely and a welcome complement to the mix of development activity that already has taken place” in and around Woodland Lakes, says Orlando Central Park president Jeff Troan. He calls the site “an excellent location” for the new school.

The existing $40-million Discovery Middle School was designed to house a maximum 1,075 students. Jon Martin, senior manager of real property at the school board, represented his agency in the land transaction. J. Gary Castle, president, Castle Commercial Realty Inc., negotiated for Orlando Central Park.

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