Projects coming to Bay District Schools

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some upgrades and a new school could be coming to Bay District Schools.

Two projects coming to the district are a new elementary school in Panama City Beach and Bay High's STEM building.

Come Thursday, the list of construction managers for the projects will be shortened, bringing them one step closer to reality.

After spring break, the short list of CM's will be interviewed. The architects have already been selected for the projects.

"Capacity on the beach. We're just about at full capacity at our beach schools. It's a great problem to have. We love growth, growth is a good thing, but we as a board need to be proactive rather versus reactive and plan for that growth," Steve Moss, Bay District School Board member, said.

The elementary school, according to Moss, will be funded by COPs (Certificates of Participation), essentially municipal bonds. Money from the half cent sales tax will not be used because it's considered new construction.

Lee Walters, Bay District Schools Director of Facilities, said this week is the last chance to see the Bay High cafeteria.

Come spring break, the cafeteria will be bulldozed to make way for the STEM building.

"I can tell you over the next few years that Bay High campus will be totally transformed not only with that new two-story STEM building, but also the new performing arts center there at Bay High, so those old alumni that maybe went to Bay High many years ago, couple years from now if they visit that campus, they won't recognize it," Moss said.

TRIUMPH funding could double the size of the STEM building project.

"It looks like, knock on wood that the TRIUMPH funds will go through for that particular project, it'll double from 30,000 to 60,000, approximately, the square footage of that new STEM building," he explained.

Once the new Bay High STEM building is complete, the old science wing will be bulldozed for the performing arts building.