This is a map of the boundary of Bonita Springs, FL. I’ve placed a red star at the nearest high school, in Estero, FL, and another, in North Naples. Ever since a friend brought up the idea of Bonita Springs having its very own high school, I’ve been thinking about it.
I can guess at a few reasons for pushing the idea. I think leaving a legacy might be one, it might be a selling point for selling real estate might be another, it might have a positive impact on home values might be another. There’s nothing really wrong with any of those reasons, but I mulled them over when I started thinking about it, as I guess in sort of “do I have a conflict of interest” in this? I’m not immune to the powers of persuasion. I think the reasons given, pertaining to economic growth, and shorter commute are compelling on their own merit.
The technicality of where would it be located is what I was first interested in. There is a parcel of county-owned land that was proposed. I’m still not sure exactly where, but it sounds like it might be a 40 acre portion of a 130 acre plot off of E. Terry Street. I immediately thought that the bridge over I-75 would create a bottleneck for local traffic at prime commuter times. Just yesterday I was stuck in traffic while the middle school on W. Terry let out. Adding a high school on E. Terry street just seems to me would compound the problem. I’ve recently started a job where I commute past that site twice a day, twice a week, right around peak commuting hours. I can definitely see that negatively altering my drive.
So, that’s when I googled the map this morning, and thought where would be the ideal location for a state of the art high school that would attract the sort of high tech environment that would provide growth for Bonita Springs? Much of the small town charm of the town centers around Old 41 and Terry Street. It is centrally located, but I don’t know that there is currently room to handle the additional traffic. I looked at Old 41 to the South, but I already know that traffic along that road can be pretty heavy during peak commute times, but I liked the idea of it being on Old 41. I wondered, if I wanted to build a high tech business corridor, where would I want to put it? Putting aside whether it was feasible or not, just whether it was ideal, I thought of the greyhound track. To me, it immediately seemed like that’s where I’d put a high school, if I could. No idea how important the track is to the community. I just think, location-wise, that’d be the best location, even if it’s not possible.
Then, I wondered, where is the next closest high school in Collier County? Well, it looks like Gulf Coast High School serves northern Collier. A little far, in my opinion, so locating a high school in the southern part of Bonita Springs made a little more sense.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts on it. I recognise what could be a real need being pointed out, but honestly don’t know the area well enough to say whether or not it is what the people of the town really want or need. I don’t understand the demographics well enough, but I do know when the middle school lets out, it sure creates an impact on the local traffic.