Jackson County School District receives $35 million for new K-8 school

Jackson County

MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) — The largest revenue plan in Florida’s history was approved on Wednesday and some of those funds are going to Jackson County for a brand new school.

The school will combine the student population of the Grand Ridge School and Sneads Elementary.

“This is going to bring them into a modern building — a state of the art building,” Jackson County Superintendent, Steve Benton said.

Benton said the district was able to receive more than $35 million in funding through Special Facilities — a program where the state provides money in smaller districts that don’t have a high income base.

“But the Governor, he gave us all $35 million at one time,” Benton said. So yesterday [Wednesday] he signed the budget so we’re getting ready to start planning for the new K-8 on the eastern part.”

However, because of inflation, Benton said the school could now cost around $42 million to build.

“We’ve got the lobbyist and the construction manager asking for more money from the state,” Benton said. “So we’re hoping that some of that will be approved. If it’s not, then we’ll have to provide extra either through the half-cent sales tax or the property tax. But I mean, with $35 million given to us, it’s a go.”

The new school will sit on 160 acres of property and will be located in between Grand Ridge and Sneads on Highway 90. Benton said the new school is needed in this area of the district.

“You know it’s new flooring and new walls it’s just — it’s gotta be a cleaner atmosphere for the kids and also usually the students show a little pride in a new building instead of being in a building that’s 55, 60 years old,” Benton said.

Benton also added because the school is on a big enough piece of land, there are talks of possibly building a new high school after the K-8 school is fully finished.

“You know cause there’s plenty of room for sports fields and everything else to be built there,” Benton said. “It’s all about the dollar but we’re getting there.”

Benton said they plan to begin construction on the new school in January 2022 and hope to have it finished by Spring 2024.

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