JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Jackson County school officials are planning to combine younger Grand Ridge and Sneads students into one school.
The legislature has appropriated money to build a new school, but a lot of the project’s details are still up in the air.
Right now, most Sneads K-4 students graduate and go to Grand Ridge School for fifth grade through eighth grade.
Jackson County school officials want to combine the two schools and make a new K-8.
“Sneads Elementary is an old facility,” Superintendent Steve Benton said. “Grand Ridge is an old facility, so if we combine them to a K-8 school, you get a brand new state-of-the-art school system.”
Benton said they’ve requested $52 million in state funding to build the new school. The state budget is sitting on the governor’s desk, waiting for his signature.
The superintendent said they just need Governor Ron DeSantis to approve the $52 million, then they can really get the ball rolling.
The school district has two sites in mind. They could build a brand new school at Four Points in Grand Ridge, or they could renovate the Grand Ridge School and move everyone there.
“They’ve kind of adapted to coming from Sneads into the Grand Ridge School, school arena if you will, so I think everybody’s kind of getting used to that feeling,” Grand Ridge School Principal Steve Dewitt said. “I think it’ll be a good thing for these communities.”
Dewitt said he thinks the current Grand Ridge School location would be a great place to start the K-8.
He said the gymnasium is one of the nicest in the district, and they have plenty of room to build athletic fields and lots of classroom space.
Then there’s the money.
Building a brand new school will cost an extra $18 million for site preparation.
“[The Department of Education] is the one who decides, not the Jackson County School Board as to where it’s at,” Benton said. “We’re looking and we’re hoping that they’ll decide soon which site they want us at.”
Benton said if they get the funding and the DOE chooses to renovate Grand Ridge School, then they can start construction immediately.
He also said he’s in favor of sticking with the current Grand Ridge School. The previous administration reportedly wanted the Four Points location.