LAKELAND, Fla. — A free scholarship funded college prep middle school for low income children is getting ready to open in Lakeland.

  • Prep middle school for low income students in Lakeland 
  • Construction may take a little longer than expected 
  • Academy Prep will start with grades five and six 
  • Read more about the academy here.

Academy Prep will be located on the former John Cox Elementary School building that had been the home to Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine clinic for nearly two decades.

There is a small army of construction workers at the facilities at the corner of Memorial Boulevard and Lakeland Hills Boulevard trying to finish up all the work.

The extensive remodeling of the old school building is taking a little longer than expected. It might not be finished on time for classes to start in about three weeks. 

“I don’t think we’ll be open in here on August 12th," said Head of School Lincoln Tamayo. “If we have to we’ll run the school out of a mud hut for the first week or two.”  

That bit of humor was really to say classes might be held briefly in a brand new activities center gym. 

Academy Prep will have separate classes for boys and girls for grades five through eight. It will start off with just grades five and six and there is still room for an additional 10 students this coming school year. 

Tamayo believes some parents have been reluctant to have their child apply because the school is new. 

“And it takes somewhat of a leap of faith for parents to send their kids to a brand new school when their kids have been used to their friends and their schools for the past four or five years,” Tamayo said. 

Students who make it through Academy Prep will also be given scholarships to attend private college prep high schools and will get lots of follow up services to make sure they will be successful at the next level.