CHIPLEY - As demolition at the old Kate M. Smith Elementary School makes progress, Washington County School Superintendent Joe Taylor is looking to the future while keeping an eye on the past.

Demo crews have cleared all west and north wings and are now working their way toward the heart of the old campus, currently on schedule to have all but two buildings completely cleared by the end of September.

Only the cafeteria and third grade buildings will be remain, with the cafeteria to be used as a conference facility and board meeting room and the third grade wing serving as the new Washington County School District Office. The existing office board offices will then become the district’s technology hub.

Taylor states that while the cafeteria will be updated to provide restroom facilities and improve public access, he is proposing the structure retain as much of the original design as possible.

"It's history," Taylor said. "You can't ignore that. It would be a mistake if we did. I'm hoping we can add as much history back to the building as possible."

After the demolition is complete next month, the school district will seek a land use change from the Chipley Planning and Zoning committee to prepare for the listing of about 14 acres of surplus property for sale.

Taylor hopes to present a schematic diagram to the board for a proposed redesign after the demolition is complete.