Kate Smith Elementary School rubble is being put to another use

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Part of the old Kate Smith Elementary School in Chipley is now nothing but a pile of rubble.

The school was built more than 60 years ago. Demolition began in the summer.

"I've driven by at each stage and it gets odder and odder," Kate Smith Elementary Principal Lesa Burdeshaw said. "To see just the fence coming down was just really, really weird looking when you're used to seeing something for decades."

Two of the buildings are still standing.

The current school board meeting room is rather small. That's why the District plans on renovating the cafeteria into a new meeting space.

"People are crammed in there and often standing in the lobby and you can't hear anything, so this will be lovely that we'll be able to have board meetings where everybody can fit," Burdeshaw said.

Part of the school will also be home to many district employees.

"Probably about this time next year we're going to go into remodeling the existing building that was left there, the old third-grade building is how we refer to it, with the goal of remodeling it for district office use," Washington County Superintendent of Schools Joe Taylor said.

Taylor said they haven't put out bids yet, but they're currently working with the architect on the design phase.

There is currently a project going on to remodel the bathrooms at Chipley High School's football stadium, which means the buses in the school bus lot are being pushed further back.

The new parking lot for the buses will actually be made up of demolition materials from the old Kate Smith Elementary School.

"The materials that were left, we as the school district got into a conversation, 'Could we use that as a foundation on a parking lot foundation that we have going on?'" Taylor said.

Florida Panhandle Technical College has a heavy equipment operator class. Taylor says those students are the ones packing in the materials.