“We wanted to give the students an opportunity to have a collaboration area so we’re going to have a collaboration study area that’s similar to something you’d see in a university. There’s breakout study rooms. All of the furniture is movable. If I could build a school from scratch, literally like we’re doing, this is what I would do,” said Principal Marlee Strawn.
Patel High’s inaugural class will consist of 300 freshmen. In future years, new freshman classes will be added, with the planned capacity of the school to be just 600 students total in grades nine through 12.
The school will offer an advanced curriculum and focus on the school’s mission statement, which emphasizes up-to-date knowledge and skills, personalized and innovative instruction, partnerships between the school and the community, social responsibility and leadership.
Organizers of the Dr. Kiran C. Patel High School on Tuesday gave the Tampa Bay Times a tour of the construction site near Interstate-75 and Fowler Avenue.
And the man whose name is on the building made his vision for the place very clear: A first-class school offering the best education available in Hillsborough County, free from the constraints of teachers’ unions and government bureaucracy.
“My vision is that we should provide an opportunity for the students whose families cannot afford the tuition at a place like Berkley Prep,” said Patel, a cardiologist and founder of WellCare, the Tampa-based managed health care business.