Bay District Schools prepares for influx of students.

Growth & School Plans
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 10:46 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As the first day of school approaches, Bay District Schools Officials continue accommodation efforts for the influx of new students.

Approximately 1200 hundred new students are expected to hit Bay District Schools halls Thursday morning.

The increase is partially due to a new mission at Tyndall Air Force Base which has brought in hundreds of airmen and their families.

Bay District Schools Superintendent Mark McQueen says the growth coming to the area is significant.

“I think what’s amazing is to see the amount of growth that’s been taking place across Bay County,” McQueen said. “Bay County has been discovered nationally and I think it was the number eight metropolitan area in the nation that people were relocating to in the last two years, and we see this in the number of homes that are being built and certainly we are seeing that at the Bay District Schools and the number of students that are coming into the school system this year.”

The district has several plans in place to ensure all students have a place to learn. Tyndall Academy has already received nearly 25 new portables and about five more are on the way.

McQueen said there is talk of possibly a new campus.

“I would fully expect another campus out at Tyndall. Tyndall is in a state of massive growth,” the Superintendent said. “Bay District Schools we want to partner with Tyndall. What we’re looking at right now is how do we project the growth into Tyndall AFB and how do we build facilities that meet the installation of the future.”

Panama City Beach is also experiencing growth. Officials say efforts to expand education on the beach began several years ago and continue.

A Gary Walsingham Academy started as a Kindergarten through Second grade. This year it is a K-4 and next year an additional grade level will be added making the school a K-5.

In addition to Walsingham and Tyndall academies, additional learning spaces are in the works at several other schools in Bay County.

“We’re right now in the midst of building additional facilities additional pods of classroom spaces at several of our schools and certainly when you start looking at the growth corridors of 79, highway 77 and 231 as a district I need to be looking at how do we extend education to these spaces where there’s massive growth taking place,” said McQueen.