Charter school, FAST pool construction on track
A worker pressure washes in the new indoor 50 meter pool at the Florida Aquatic Swimming and Training (FAST) pool complex that is under construction by Colen Built Development in the new Calesa Development near On Top of the World in southwest Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.
Editor’s note: The Ina A. Colen Academy, a newly created Marion County charter school is being built by the Colen Family Charitable Trust, a separate entity from the Calesa developers. The Circle Square Foundation is funding the Florida Aquatics Swimming and Training facility. A previous version of this story indicated otherwise.
A new charter school and state-of-the-art swimming facility near the upstart Calesa Township, a family community in Southwest Marion County near State Road 200, are on schedule.
The Ina A. Colen Academy, a newly created Marion County charter school being built for area students, broke ground in October and is well underway. The outside walls at the new school are up. Recently, dozens of construction workers were busy welding and working on interior walls.
The school will include a gymnasium, cafetorium, art and music rooms, as well as a media center and laboratory areas. The school will initially offer classes from kindergarten through sixth grade. The school plans to open its doors in August 2022.
“The school will accommodate roughly 200 students, and the plan is to add grades 7-8 over time,” said Kinley Rogers, who works with the Calesa community’s developer, Colen Built Development.
Eventually, the school hopes to serve nearly 1,000 students. The school is a project of the Colen Family Charitable Trust, a separate Colen family entity.
The academy has tabbed Sandra Rocquin as its new principal. Rocquin comes to Marion County from Fleming Island and has 13 years of experience as an educator. Her last post was as an assistant principal at Duval County Public Schools. She also served as a supervisor for Clay County Public Schools.
Rocquin will be charged with hiring new faculty members for the school.
Nearby, the Florida Aquatics Swimming and Training (FAST) facility is also taking shape.
The complex will include a 50-meter indoor pool as well as an outdoor, “L” shaped, Olympic-sized pool. The complex will accommodate regional and state competitions and will seat about 2,000 spectators.
The Circle Square Foundation, which is funding the FAST facility, recently purchased the Myrtha warm-up pool used at the 2021 U.S. Olympics Trials in Omaha. The pool will be shipped to Ocala after the end of the trials.
“The use of two pools will allow swimmers to warm up before events, using all available space and saving time,” Rogers said.
In addition to the pools, a fitness center, men’s and women’s locker rooms, state-of-the-art scoreboards and community meeting spaces are also being constructed.
With the College of Central Florida planning to close its swimming and diving facilities, FAST will accommodate not only the Marion County swim community but also the region.
“Many Marion County high schools are anxious to use the facility, and the goal is to host district and regional tournaments for area swim teams,” said Jordan Litherland, a Colen spokeswoman.
FAST also plans to offer youth swimming classes, as well as summer camp activities. FAST is scheduled to open in March of 2022.
Calesa Township is a planned community of roughly 5,000 single-family and multi-family homes on 1,500 acres east of Southwest 80th Ave. and south of Southwest 38th Street. The community will be open to residents of all ages.
For information about the charter school visit www.iacafl.org for FAST, visit www.floridafast.com and for Calesa, visit www.mycalesa.com.