State-of-the-art Sumner High set to open

Published on: August 27, 2020

linda chion kenney photos
The entrance to Jule F. Sumner High School near Balm and Riverview is the first public high school built in the county in 11 years.

State-of-the-art Sumner High set to open


Jule F. Sumner High School, the first high school built in Hillsborough County in 11 years, is open for business at the border of Balm and Riverview, on the north side of Balm Road, east of U.S. 301.

Led by charter principal Dave Brown and newly appointed school superintendent, Addison Davis, the Aug. 21 back-to-school press conference offered school officials, business partners and members of the press a tour of the $75 million, two-story, multi-building, 238,268-square-foot campus.

Named for a pioneer, entrepreneur, cattle rancher, surveyor and businessman, Sumner High features state-of-the-art security measures, instructional delivery technology and an athletic field and track outfitted in artificial turf.

Brown, who as an assistant principal and principal, respectively, opened Freedom and Strawberry Crest high schools, said he was interested in applying for his new job because he was glad to see a new school serving the nearby Wimauma community. “I’m not saying we overlooked them, but I can’t wait; they now have a school of their own and that’s important,” Brown said. “We really want to make sure we’re helping those families.”

Sumner opens to relieve East Bay High in Gibsonton and Lennard High in Ruskin, along with Barrington, Eisenhower and Shields middle schools. New high schools open in Hillsborough without a senior class, allowing for the establishment of Academy 2027 at Sumner. The academy is designed to separately house 450 sixth-graders, who will attend Sumner through grade 12. Sumner is certified through the internationally recognized Cambridge Pathway. The school’s international curriculum and examination system emphasize broad and balanced study to ensure college-ready students.

Sumner High is at 16402 Balm Road, Riverview. For information about Academy 2027, visit For more on Sumner High, visit Sumner falls under the Area 5 superintendent’s office. Call 813-707-7050.

It’s been almost a year since the Sept. 19 “topping out ceremony” for Sumner High School, located in Riverview/Balm, where school officials held a grand opening and back-to-school press conference Aug. 21. Addison Davis, the newly seated school superintendent, below, addresses the media and guests at the press conference.


Views then and now of the main entrance to the administration building at Sumner High: Chosen Sumner colors are victory blue and kelly green. Silver, as an accent, rounds out the palette. Prominent is the school’s mascot, the Stingray, selected with input from students. Sumner opens to relieve East Bay and Lennard high schools and draws students from Barrington, Eisenhower and Shields middle schools. The Stingray mascot joins East Bay’s Indian; Lennard’s Longhorn, Riverview’s Shark, Spoto’s Spartan and the South County Career Center’s Bobcat.

Views then and now of the main courtyard at Sumner High: In the far background sits the cafeteria, between two, 2-story classroom buildings. The tall tower (now staircase) connects two classroom buildings.


Sumner High School Charter Principal Dave Brown, at the Sept. 19 “topping out” ceremony, shows construction underway outside the media center as he begins a tour of the campus. On Aug. 21, in the same area, Brown starts the grand-opening tour.

Ordered before the coronavirus pandemic, Sumner’s rolling desks and chairs will come in handy when it’s time to social distance in the classroom.

Principal Dave Brown said he expects Sumner High to open with 1,900 students in grades 9 to 11 and another 450 students in Academy 2027, a unique program for sixth-graders only. According to district policy, seniors are allowed to stay in their home schools when a new school opens in their attendance area; this means Sumner’s first graduating class will be in 2022.

A stunning view of the artificial-turf field at the newly opened Jule F Sumner High, home of the Stingrays. From left, Jason Mitchell, director of client services for CORE Construction; Jonathan Graham, president of HORUS Construction Services; Chris Farkas, Hillsborough County School District’s chief of operations; Addison Davis, Hillsborough County School District’s superintendent; Dave Brown, Sumner High’s charter principal; and school board members Lynn Gray and Steve Cona. “This is a school that exemplifies innovation,” Gray said. “There is a lot of space in this school.”

The Jule F. Sumner High School brand is in grand display in the mint gymnasium, with school colors victory blue, kelly green and silver on display, along with the new school’s mascot, the Stingray.


With an expected 65 percent of her school’s high school students opting for eLearning due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sumner High English teacher Katy Karpenske has been readying her classroom for the start of a most unusual school year.


Sumner High Principal Dave Brown, left, and school superintendent Addison Davis in a Sumner High science lab, where state-of-the-art instructional technology is on display.

Fresh, new books and furnishings in the Sumner High media center.


“We were worried we wouldn’t have our seats in the auditorium the first day of school, but they got here,” said Dave Brown, charter principal of Sumner High. The auditorium’s capacity is just under 700 seats.

Cute chairs are displayed in the hallway leading to and from the visitor’s entrance into the administration building at Jule F. Sumner High School. The hallway also features a wall painting showing the school’s name and mascot.