BONIFAY — Remnants of the old fairgrounds is now a big pile of rubble as Culpepper Construction clears the spot where the foundation of Bonifay's new K-8 will soon go down.

BONIFAY — Remnants of the old fairgrounds is now a big pile of rubble as Culpepper Construction clears the spot where the foundation of Bonifay’s new K-8 will soon go down.

As the ground is leveled for the 250,000-square foot building, the company will excavate enough dirt to drop the earth eight feet lower for the school, playground areas and the addition of a new softball field. 

“About a week before Christmas, we want to start getting concrete footers in for the cafetorium,” said construction superintendent Lee Williams, referring to a multi-purpose cafeteria and auditorium space. “About two weeks after that we’ll start on the gym, too.”

Vacating old facilities to consolidate K-8 education will call for the district to reshuffle a combined administration, and a plan for leadership positions in the new school is still being formulated.  

The current elementary school campus has been in use since 1970 and the current middle school was erected in 1954. Facilities manager Buddy Brown said the district is still mulling over what to do with the old middle and elementary school buildings.

“Quite frankly, everything is on the table,” said Brown. “We’re open to suggestions from the community and governmental agencies. We would like it to be utilized for something that would help the community develop and grow.”

Brown said the district anticipates the student population will grow in the next few years as wider roads are paved and new industrial developments come to fruition bringing more jobs and families to the area.

The new school is roughly projected to save the district $150,000 per year in energy costs by consolidating elementary and middle school facilities. As construction finally takes off, the project is already stimulating the local economy through companies supplying materials and support services to construction activity.

Superintendent Eddie Dixon said in comparison to other school construction projects led by Culpepper, Holmes County is already seeing a return on the investment of local tax dollars going to the new school.

“This school has got more local participation with construction than any school that’s been built,” said Dixon.