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Apollo Middle School in Broward opens new media center as campus infrastructure upgrade continues

Apollo Middle School gets new media center
Apollo Middle School gets new media center 02:21

FORT LAUDERDALE -- A recent CBS News Miami investigation of Broward County public schools found that campuses in low-income areas generally have to wait longer for repairs and renovations to be completed.

CBS News Miami investigates: Why are some Broward schools in desperate need of repairs? 07:36

One such school is Apollo Middle School in Hollywood, but on Wednesday, the school proudly unveiled its brand new media center.

CBS News Miami visited the campus to see the ongoing work at the schools one district board member says has been left behind.

>>>>>Previous reporting: Why are some Broward schools in desperate need of repairs?
Nearly nine years after voters approved an $800 million bond to address school needs, students and parents are beginning to see taxpayer dollars in action at Apollo Middle. 

At the campus, student leaders smiled while speaking to district representatives about the newly renovated media center.

Apollo Middle School
Apollo Middle School CBS News Miami

The library features improved lighting, learning spaces, access to enhanced internet, and educational games.

The opening was welcomed news for parents like Jessica Sanchez.

"Middle school was always the scariest thing to me," she said. "I had a friend who did not send her kid here because the roof was caving in. To come and start seeing improvements and change out all these things and have the hallways look beautiful is awesome!"

It is work the school's principal says helped increase enrollment this academic year.

"Almost 100 students over my projection," said Dr. Louis Kushner, the school's principal. "Testament of what we're doing here in the MacArthur zone, within Broward County Public Schools to attract students to come back to our schools and have a vested interest in what we do here in Hollywood."

Apollo Middle's principal met with school board member Daniel Foganholi, who represents the district where the school is located. He describes media centers the heartbeat of a school, and the Rockets renovated one long overdue.

He said Apollo had been left behind in the repair process. 

The District has spent only just over $1 million of the school's $12.7 million allotted budget on completed repairs. District officials tell us, though, by August 2024, they expect all the required work to be fully fixed.

He shares an idea on how the district can ensure that schools like Apollo receive help.

"If somebody is a board member out west that doesn't see how we are doing things out east and what we have to deal with, we really don't work together well," Foganholi said. "So, one of the things I was going to bring to the board soon is we should walk these schools together. We can each pick a school in our district that we want to walk through and how we have to fix this, understanding the big priority that's in our communities for us to fix these schools."

Apollo Middle is a Title I school, indicating a higher percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

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