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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Sep. 29, 202105:00 AM EST

$16 million IDEA Public Schools project in review near Jacksonville University

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The charter organization will partner with Jacksonville University to create an education center.

By Karen Brune Mathis & Max Marbut • Staff Writers

 The city is reviewing a permit application for the estimated $16 million construction of an IDEA Public Schools building south of Jacksonville University in Arlington.

The private JU is working with IDEA Public Schools to develop a pre-K through doctorate degree education hub.

IDEA Jacksonville will build a tuition-free public charter school campus.

The two-story, 80,928-square-foot IDEA school is planned  at 2354 University Blvd N., south of the JU campus at 2800 University Blvd. N..

JU bought the land in 2014 for $3.25 million from the Boys’ Home Association Inc. and cleared the site.

JU sold property July 15 to IPS Enterprises Inc. for $3.27 million, according to a deed recorded July 16 with Duval County Clerk of Courts.

IPS Enterprises is based in Weslaco, Texas, and will develop and operate the IDEA school.

“Jacksonville University is proud to partner with IDEA Jacksonville in our shared vision to create exceptional, life-changing educational opportunities for young people,” JU President Tim Cost said July 15 in a news release.

With JU’s undergraduate and graduate programs, and with Wilma’s Little People’s School for 2- to 4-year-old children, the addition of IDEA School’s K-12 campus creates a center for educational opportunities, said the release.

“For IDEA Jacksonville, that means every one of their students is ready for college. For Jacksonville University, it means developing a passion for learning at every stage of life. Our partnership is a natural fit and it will transform the lives of students in Arlington,” said the release.

IDEA Jacksonville will break ground this summer on the River Bluff campus.

Universal Engineering Sciences of Jacksonville is the consultant. Rowe Architects Inc. of Tampa is the architect.

The permit application refers to the project as a “new K-8 Charter School of Hope.”

Beginning in fall 2022, the campus will educate about 500 students in kindergarten, first, second and sixth grade. The campus eventually will serve students through 12th grade in two schools within the Arlington campus.

The school will provide technology to every student, free bus transportation and after-school programming.

Founded by former Teach For America Corps members with the slogan “Individuals Dedicated to Excellence and Achievement,” the first IDEA Academy opened in 1998 in Donna, Texas.

According to ideapublicschools.org, the program has since grown to 120 schools in Texas, Louisiana and Florida. For 15 consecutive years, 100% of IDEA Public Schools’ graduates have been accepted into college.

The JU release said IDEA Jacksonville also will lease office space temporarily from JU to establish its regional headquarters. When the Arlington campus is completed, IDEA Jacksonville will move its regional headquarters into office space at the new school.

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