- June 3, 2021
Two cities. One school.
Volusia County Schools held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, Aug. 2, to celebrate the beginning of construction for the new Beachside Elementary School at 1265 N. Grandview Ave. in Daytona Beach, the former Ortona Elementary school site. The new school is a result of the consolidation of Osceola Elementary with Ortona, a decision made by the School Board in August 2020.
According to a VCS press release, the new Beachside Elementary School will serve up to 765 students in a campus that will span 95,000 square feet, and will include a two-story classroom building, two playgrounds and an outdoor learning space, as designed by BRPH. Construction will be done by Ajax Construction, with an opening scheduled for late 2022.
“This ceremony marks the beginning of our journey to a beautiful new school facility and campus for our children of Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach," said Lynn Bruner, the former Osceola Elementary principal who will be Beachside Elementary's principal. "We’re excited to have a modern educational environment designed for today’s learning, with upgraded technology and security.”
In attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony were School Board members Ruben Colon, Anita Burnette, Jamie Haynes, and Chair Linda Cuthbert, as well as Florida Rep. Tom Leek and Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry.
Cuthbert said schools unite communities, and as a governmental body, the School Board gets to see that happen throughout Volusia.
"We can’t be more proud to have that responsibility and that enjoyment, because every neighborhood deserves a really good school," she said.
Leek, who along with his wife grew up and currently reside in Ormond Beach, looked back fondly at his own education by VCS.
“The greatest thing about any school is that it has the opportunity to be the centerpiece of a community," Leek said. "That’s what you’re building here.”
VCS Superintendent Scott Fritz said that when the consolidation of Ortona and Osceola began, he met with both principals to ensure a seamless transition for the students. Until the new school is built, all students will attend classes at Osceola Elementary.
"We just know great things are going to happen," Fritz said. "What’s so cool is you only get one time to have a first day, but that first day is going to be here for years. This is the first group of Sea Turtles that we’re going to have, and these Sea Turtles are going to be telling that story for years.”
The creation of Beachside Elementary is a product of a vision that shows local students matter, said Henry. The mayor added that education is a bridge.
“There’s no bridge quite like it," Henry said. "It has the capacity to bridge communities, and in this case, literally, to bridge two cities. It has the capacity to connect families to their dreams and to their hopes, to their aspirations.”