BONIFAY — Superintendent of Holmes County Schools Eddie Dixon informed the Holmes County District school board that the Holmes County School District is in the preliminary stage of making application to the Florida State Department of Education for a new K-8 education complex for Bonifay during their June 4 meeting.
It will be a K-5 and 6-8 facility built side by side. The proposed facility will be designated as a shelter by the Florida Emergency Management for use during hurricanes, tropical storms and other weather emergencies and includes manmade or technological emergencies.
“We’re still in the preliminary stage of development so a projected time and place haven’t been established yet,” said Dixon. “We’re still exploring location options.”
He said it’s estimated to cost $25 million to build both facilities to hold 1,400 students.
“This will allow for some growth if need be,” said Dixon. “Right now we have 800 students in the elementary school and 500 in the middle school. Our kindergarten classes are growing, though I can’t give you a definite reason as to why.”
The new facility would be able to hold more students, but will also be able to double as a “special needs shelter,” according to Dixon.
“That’s how states are building their facilities now; to double as these special needs shelters to withstand category three and four hurricanes,” he said. “More so is the fact that those two schools are just worn out. All in all we’re all very excited to get this process underway.”
Bonifay Middle School Principal Donald Etheridge said that it was “long overdue.”
“This school is over 50 years old,” said Etheridge. “Part of it opened in 1956 and the rest was open the year after that. It’s been remodeled since then, however the plumbing is still over 50 years old.”
He said he looked forward to a new facility.
“I think it is a very good thing,” he said. “With a new facility we can have the proper equipment for teaching our students to live in a modern society.”
Further information will be provided to the public as plans are developed and approved.