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By Robert Connors
Managing Editor 

Bok Academy North Classrooms Near Completion, But Funding Remains an Issue

Cadillac is Prize in Lake Wales Charter Schools Fundraising Drive


Last updated 3/13/2023 at 10:41am

Robert Connors

Rapidly nearing completion is the new classroom building at Bok Academy North. The new structure occupies the site of the former Lake Wales High School building, and contains 20 classrooms. The building visible at the left is the remodeled cafeteria which once served the original Lake Wales High School on the site. A 2023 Cadillac is the sought-for prize in a Charter Schools fundraising concluding in May.

Lake Wales newest middle school campus is set to benefit from a $6 million construction project, but Lake Wales Charter Schools is working to find the resources to pay for the new school building at Bok Academy North.

Filling the $3 million gap in funding to complete the new campus is being approached through a three-tiered fundraising effort that includes giving away a 2023 Cadillac XT4.

Dr. T.J. McKeon spoke with the this week to explain the crucial need, and ways the Lake Wales Charter School Foundation is working to raise the funds to complete the $6 million plus project. About half the project is being funded with education and historic preservation grants.

"We have secured $3 million from the state and historical societies, and we have a large donor who has given us his word that he will be the last $500,000," McKeon said. "The missing $3M is what we need to work on." As a part of this effort, Huston Motors, a local Cadillac dealership, has graciously donated a 2023 Cadillac XT4 Premium, which will be raffled off to someone who donates $50 and receives one of the tickets.

"The winner will take ownership of it as a Certified pre-owned vehicle," McKeon pointed out, because it has already been gifted to the Charter School Foundation.

The school construction project has received historic preservation funding because three of the buildings are part of the town's first school complex. The largest building on the original campus, a three-story brick structure, was destroyed by arsonists in the 1970's. The current project incorporates a two-story structure built in 1919, as well as the original cafeteria and a former administrative building.

McKeon said that the project will be completing a new 20-classroom building in the next two weeks, which will allow the school to vacate many of the portable buildings currently in use. "This will finally give us the full system of four grade schools, two middle schools, and one high school, which will give the local students a seamless system to fully institute a thriving education system here in Lake Wales," Mckeon said.

Included in the plans will be the upgrading of the 1919 building to meet current building codes. That building, which served as part of Lake Wales High School until the early 1970's, will house multiple classrooms.

Those wishing to support the school project are encouraged to purchase tickets at their website at The drawing will be held at the high school graduation ceremonies on May 23, 2023.


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