International Boarding School on the way to Bay County

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Bay Economic Development Alliance and the Bay County Commission announced Wednesday a K- 12 international marine-centric boarding school is on the way to Fanning Bayou in Bay County, courtesy of the Casa Laxmi foundation.

They were initially looking at the Caribbean because of the waterfront property there, but after plans were delayed, they began looking elsewhere.

Kiran Kulkarni of the Casa Laxmi Foundation said, "Why are we not looking at the United States? [The] United States has the waterfront and ocean and so on."

The foundation and the Bay EDA eventually struck a deal with D.R. Horton to buy 260 acres of land in a housing development in Fanning Bayou.

Becca Hardin, with the Bay Economic Development Alliance said, "It's a win for D.R. Horton because they can continue some of their housing developments, it's a win for Casa Laxmi obviously because they'll be able to build their international boarding school, and it's an absolute win for Bay County and the state of Florida because this puts us on the international map."

As for the school itself, officials say they want to incorporate a broad and inclusive curriculum and that starts with enrolling around 300 students from different backgrounds.

Sonal Thomas, with the Casa Laxmi Foundation, said, "We want to take two complete opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, put them together with equal treatment and equal footing. But more importantly, develop the leaders of tomorrow."

Officials say construction is set to begin this year.

Early plans say grades 6 to 8 will open by 2021 and they'll add more grades through 2026.

Casa Laxmi officials say the tuition will be between $100,000 to $150,000 a year and the average wage for employees will be more than $50,000 a year.