Bay District Schools to build new school in Panama City Beach, updates on facility recovery efforts

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Bay District Schools officials are moving forward with plans to build a new school in Panama City Beach.

The announcement was made on Tuesday at the Bay District Schools facilities update and workshop.

The new beach school is in response to rising population in Panama City Beach. It had been planned before Hurricane Michael, but was put on hold after the storm. 

“It’s just a matter of time before we’re over capacity out there again,” said Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt. “We’re excited that we’re going to pick that up where we left off and as soon as possible start building that new school on the beach.”

Husfelt said they’re hoping to have the new school ready by Fall of 2021, starting as a K-2 school and gradually increasing to a K-5 school as it was intended to be. 

As well as discussing the future of the new school, school board members were also updated on the progress of current recovery for schools in the area. 

Officials say it’s a slow but steady process.

“It was a staged approach, with roofing being the first aspect,” said Lee Walters, facilities director for Bay District Schools. “As we’ve begun to complete many of those projects, we start to look forward to the next phase.”

According to Walters, as of now, more than ten schools have completed or are nearing completion of roof replacement. This includes Hiland Park Elementary, Southport Elementary, Lynn Haven Elementary, Jinks Middle School, and Haney Technical Center, among others.

The next phase of work is interior recovery, which Walters says will begin around the holidays when school is on break.

“We really look forward to that aspect because that’ll make the ‘homey’ feel return for the students and the teachers,” said Walters.

Other projects in the pipeline for Bay District Schools is the Mowat Middle School Media Center roof and interior reconstruction, the Bay High STEM building, and the Transportation Department rebuild. 

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