School board votes to mothball St. Andrew School, students and faculty to relocate

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Earlier this year, we learned about a number of Bay District schools that will be mothballed, or temporarily closed, for the upcoming school year.

While previous schools were voted to be mothballed under the reasoning of school population change, such as Springfield and Oscar Patterson elementary schools, a new school will be closed because of hurricane damage.

St. Andrew School students and faculty will go to Oakland Terrace School for the Arts next school year. Oakland Terrace was once slated to be mothballed.

This comes after the Bay District School Board voted to approve Superintendent Bill Husfelt's recommendation.

One factor contributing to the decision is the cost of repair, as the district has to maintain the aesthetic of the historic building.

"I do recognize the importance of the facility to the community and at all costs, we want to preserve that facility. Maybe not today, but as the opportunity through FEMA and as funding becomes available, we want to keep that a strong part of the community," Lee Walters, Director of Facilities of Bay District Schools, said.

In a memorandum from Walters to Superintendent Bill Husfelt, he cites other concerns for St. Andrew School including 18 modular classrooms, undersized cafeteria and media center, and lack of energy efficiency.

Janie Branstetter, Principal of St. Andrew School, said, "It's like we've said, this hurricane has just changed everything for us, and logistically, we understand the need for the board to make this recommendation. Our hearts hurt, the building is a very special building to all of us."

We're told Oakland Terrace students will still be rezoned for other schools.

St. Andrew School is the oldest continuously functioning in Bay County.

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