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OCPS remembers Chief Facilities Officer
Posted on 11/16/2021
John Morris poses in front of Sun Blaze Elementary School
The Orange County Public Schools southern administrative complex has been renamed in honor of Chief Facilities Officer John Morris, who died Nov. 2, after a brief hospitalization and a period of declining health.

The School Board approved the new name “John Morris Facilities Complex” for the administrative campus at Oak Ridge Road and John Young Parkway that includes the Facilities leadership offices.
 
Morris, 65, most recently of Leesburg, played a key role in construction projects that touch the lives of thousands of Orange County children, taxpayers and visitors every day. From 2011 to 2021 he oversaw the construction of 102 new, renovated or replacement schools in every corner of the county, part of a $3 billion, ongoing facilities program. He also played key roles in the construction of the Amway Arena and two phases of the Orange County Convention Center.

Morris was known by his employees for his open-door leadership style, his kindness and his calm, thoughtful demeanor.
John Morris headshot“John’s legacy will resonate throughout our community for generations to come ¬ through the buildings he built ¬but most of all through the people he inspired,” said Superintendent Barbara Jenkins.

As a young man laboring as a roofer under the Florida sun, Morris saw some construction managers emerging from the air-conditioned building in dress shirts. He decided then and there that that was what he wanted to do, earning a degree in Construction Technology from the University of North Florida in 1984.

From there, he held numerous construction management jobs with increasing levels of responsibility. He joined Orange County Government in 1993 as a Project Manager on Phase III of the Orange County Convention Center. He worked there for 14 years, rising to the position of Orange County Construction Manager for the convention center’s Phase V – a $748 million  expansion. Next, he led the construction of the new Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic, as Director of Program Management. He remained until joining Orange County Public Schools.

Schools built during his tenure can be seen all over the county and include Windermere, Lake Buena Vista and Horizon high schools. He was particularly proud of the OCPS Academic Center for Excellence, the renovation of Lockhart Elementary and the replacement for Magnolia School. He believed strongly that every neighborhood deserved excellent school buildings, and watched every penny on behalf of taxpayers.

He oversaw a reduction of more than 50 percent in the number of portable classrooms needed over a decade even as the rolls of Orange County schools increased by thousands of students. His role with the school district also included overseeing maintenance and custodial services for 205 schools.

Morris married his wife, Patti, in 1994. He was a big sports fan and avid golfer. He also served as a Pop Warner football coach when his son, Matthew, 27, was young. He is survived by his wife and son. A celebration of life will be held Nov. 18.