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School board eyes building schools near transit ro


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School board eyes building schools near transit routes

By Samantha Joseph

The Miami-Dade School Board is considering building schools near Metrorail and other transit routes that have been earmarked for mixed-use high-rise developments.

The board wants officials to work out logistics of incorporating classrooms into real estate projects along the county's public transportation routes.

The idea is part of a proposal from school board member Frank Cobo, who sits on a working group charged with easing crowding in the county's public schools.

"If studies yield that it is feasible, safe and cost-effective to place schools within proposed high-rises, we may have a viable alternative to work with," Mr. Cobo said.

Since 1998, county officials have sought to create consumer destinations around the train tracks to draw commuters and generate revenue.

This year, they plan to open retail and office space at the Martin Luther King Jr. Station and rental housing near the Allapattah stop. Construction is under way or slated by December at Coconut Grove, Overtown and South Miami stations.

More than 1,000 apartments and 1.8 million square feet of office and retail space are under construction, planned or have been completed on county land next to Metrorail stations, officials say.

Mr. Cobo suggested that schools be added to the projects.

"Generally, the more urban, higher-density nature of this proposed development would be more suitable for senior-high school-aged children, and/or for special programs which tend to work well hand-in-hand with mass transportation," he wrote to the school board.

The board has authorized schools superintendent Rudolph Crew to work with the Miami-Dade County Transit Authority and other groups to perform a feasibility study. Officials planned to discuss the idea this week.

The goal is to determine whether educational centers would complement planned and ongoing development and identify suitable sites.

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It's really smart to do that. I know that Tri-Rail and PalmTran get alot of ridership from students. I'm one of them. The school board pays for our passes, so I'm sure our transit people are grateful for the amount of students they're serving. Likewise, the school board doesn't have to provide as many school bus routes, since we already have PalmTran. I'd like to see more transit-oriented development in Palm Beach County.

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