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Marco Island Academy has cleared one of the hurdles in its quest to build a more permanent campus.

The Marco Island Planning Board has unanimously approved a site development plan that calls for the construction of classrooms, offices, a gymnasium and sports fields at its current location, 2255 San Marco Road.

The site plan envisions the constructions of approximately 50,425 square feet of air-conditioned space for the not-for-profit charter school on 5.88 acres to replace the modular units that are servicing as classrooms in the meantime.

With the project expected to be completed in phases and dependent on funding, city staff has requested documentation that the project can be completed before the expiration of permits.

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In addition to approval of the site plan, the Planning Board also approved a variance to allow six additional feet of building height above the 30-feet allowed in commercial facility zoning for the school’s classroom building.

As part of its conditions, staff recommended approval of the variance as well as removal of the modular buildings once a certificate of occupancy has been issued for the classroom buildings.

Planning Board Member Dave Vergo's recommendation of increasing the time to remove the modular buildings from 90 to 130 days to accommodate the school was accepted by city staff and the rest of the board.

“The reason we do this is just to make sure they eventually go away,” Community Affairs Director Dan Smith said.

Principal Melissa Scott said that once the certificate of occupancy is issued, the removal of modular buildings would have to be done over one of the school’s breaks as the process will take some time to complete.

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