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Broward School District Land In Parkland_Image Credit Google Maps 760x320

A plot of land once envisioned as the site of a Parkland elementary school could become the future site of a Broward Health medical complex.

The hospital system, operated by the taxpayer-funded North Broward Hospital District, is seeking to acquire from the Broward School District a 10-acre parcel at the southwest corner of University Drive and Trails End Drive in Parkland.

The School Board bought the land for $5.85 million in 2005 with plans to build a new elementary school. The city of Parkland contributed $850,000 toward that purchase. But the project was one of many that got shelved during the recession a few years later.

Parkland is one of the few areas of the county where schools remain crowded and there’s a demand for more facilities. But the state won’t allow the district to build any new schools because it already has 54,100 empty seats elsewhere in the county where students could attend.

Broward Health already acquired a 7-acre site directly adjacent to the land, paying $14.5 million in 2020, according to the Broward Property Appraiser’s website. That land and the school district’s property both remain vacant.

The hospital system would like to create a complex with a specialty care physician practice clinic within the next three to five years, David Clark, senior vice president of operations of the hospital district, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The facilities would likely include an educational component where Broward high school students in health science programs could get training. He said there may also be retail spaces available for lease to local businesses as well as community and green space.

Broward Health has a hospital about five miles south in Coral Springs.

He said the hospital district’s acquisition of the 7-acre site was part of the hospital’s growth plan. The hospital could build on that site even if it doesn’t acquire the school district land.

“I think each piece of property is developable,” he said. “But when you look at the overall highest and best use of the property and the community benefit to the property, [the school district property] allows us to have a conversation of how we can maximize both properties. We think it’s a win for the community and the residents of Parkland.”

The proposal has some interest from some School Board members, who are looking for ways to help the district overcome a looming budget crisis. Other board members are more cautious, saying the district needs to ensure that it won’t have a use for the land in the future. The school district has not identified the land as surplus.

School Board Chairwoman Lori Alhadeff, who lives in Parkland and represents the affected area, said the district shouldn’t rush into disposing of the property. It may want it for a school in the future or to house a district program, she said. She also questioned why fellow School Board members were eager to build a new medical complex in Parkland.

“I’m sitting back in shock hearing that Parkland is in need of a medical center,” she said. “I live in Parkland. That conversation has never come up. You have Cleveland Clinic right now down the street. You have hospitals on U.S. 441 and in Coral Springs.”

She said the School Board should wait until Superintendent Peter Licata develops his plan to redefine the district. After the district closes and repurposes schools, there may be the opportunity to build schools in areas where there is a need, such as Parkland, she said.

Alhadeff added there may be other property the district would rather sell. And if the district decides to sell the property, it should be competitively bid, she said.

The school district also owns another undeveloped tract of land on the northeast corner of Nob Hill Road and Hillsboro Boulevard in Parkland.

Some Parkland city officials have also warned about moving too fast.

The School Board agreed Wednesday to hold off making any decision until at least June, while also directing Licata to develop a long-term plan for its facilities and land.


Source:  SunSentinel