Demolition and debris removal projects underway at former Dozier School for Boys

Jackson County

MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — Demolition and debris removal projects at the former Dozier School for Boys are more than 50 percent complete as of Wednesday.

Jackson County officials said they have renamed the property to ‘Endeavor’ to symbolize a new beginning for the massive plot of land.

The Dozier School for Boys was once a reform school and closed back in 2011 after former students came out in recent years and shared stories of alleged abuse they experienced when they were there.

“After learning the history of what’s happened there and what’s been being, what’s been turning up the last several years, I kinda am glad to see it go,” said Jackson County resident, Cynthia Cuenin.

Cuenin said she feels there is a lot of potential when it comes to the ‘Endeavor’ property.

“Well trying to draw in some manufacturing would be a good idea to bring some good paying jobs into the area,” Cuenin said. “I think they should try to leave a part of the property for memorial for children who lost their lives out there.”

County officials are hoping to bring multiple industries to the ‘Endeavor’ property and said they want this to be something Jackson County residents can be proud of.

“The board is very excited about what the future holds, they’re very committed to doing what it takes to make that property something great again,” said County Administrator, Wilanne Daniels.

Daniels said 300 acres will be used for housing. They also hope to repurpose two buildings: one for the Austism Transition Academy and one for an emergency shelter that would double as a convention center.

“There have been multiple buildings torn down,” Daniels said. “They are getting to where they are ready to start cleaning up the actual property, additional stump removal. The goal is to just have it where it can be a mowed piece of property in areas and just restore it back to a place where we can be proud of.”

Daniels said they’re working with the State to be able to place memorials on the property. Some construction projects are expected to begin over the next 6 to 12 months.

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