A New Elementary School Could be in Washington County's Near Future

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Chipley- A second grade class at Kate M. Smith Elementary school was working on word problems Tuesday.

"Rosie has 16 strawberries. She eats nine of them. How many does she have left?"

As students work toward a solution, school officials were also working on a solution for the problems plaguing Kate Smith Elementary.

"A lot of leaks" Explained Kate M. Smith Elementary School Principal, Lesa Burdeshaw. "Right now we're dealing with bats. Half of our school is divided by a road. And we have Pre K and Kindergarten over there and it makes it very difficult. They cant come across without an adult to go to the nurse or anything."

Plus, "It's 60 years old" added Washington County Superintendent Joe Taylor. "We have pieces and parts of it. We also have 20 portables that are being used as classrooms out there."

But these issues could become history if the state approves the county's request for special facility funding to build a new Pre-K through 5 grade school.

The grant is for counties without the tax base to build a new school on their own. The new facility would likely cost around $30 Million. $4.4 million would come from tax payer's pockets- but has already been collected over the past decade.

Monday, school board officials selected an architecture firm out of Tallahassee for the project.

"Our goal is to put the school right here" Taylor said, pointing to a plot of land on one of three large areal maps he had hanging in the school board's conference room.

Burdeshaw said Teachers also had a few goals of their own."Everybody's a buzz with what they want. 'are we going to get to pick our rooms? Are we going to get to help with the layout?'"

And, the principal admitted she too had a 'new school wish list.'

"Security. Security is a huge concern for us. Technology."

If approved the Taylor said they could break ground as soon as July 1, 2014.

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