The Santa Rosa County School Board has been purchasing land at a breakneck pace over the past two years in an attempt to build up its store of land that can be used for new schools in the future.
The district has set aside $11 million over the past two years specifically for land purchases, according to Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. That money was re-allocated from funds that were originally going to go to repairing and adding onto existing schools.
"As soon as we complete purchasing what we believe the school district would need for the next 10 to 15 years, we will begin to re-allocate those resources," Wyrosdick said. "Those resources are our local 1.4 millage rate money, our Local Option Sales Tax, and the impact fees that will begin April 1."
Below is a list of the parcels of land that the school district has purchased in the past two years:
— Axley Property (41 acres) on the south side of U.S. 98, near the intersection with Edgewood Drive
— Tiger Point (45 acres) on the south side of Santa Rosa Drive, near the intersection with College Parkway
— Ten Mile Road (45 acres), south of Archie's Way, east of the intersection at Ten Mile Road and Chumuckla Highway
— Whisper Creek (25 acres), which was donated to the school district in 2005 but not officially marked as land for a new school until last month.
Additionally, there are four more properties that are in various stages of negotiation, according to the school district.
Though the school has land on which to build new schools, it does not yet have the money. Funding to build new schools comes from various sources, including the state of Florida and the forthcoming impact fees.
The district is currently building its first new school in 10 years on Elkhart Drive. East Bay K-8 is slated to open in the fall of 2022.
Annie Blanks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8632.