Project Priority Raises Concern - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Project Priority Raises Concern

Posted: Updated:

The discussion to move up North Bay Haven Charter School's new gym to the top of the 'half-cent sale tax' project list raises concerns with some school leaders.

For a school like Hiland Park Elementary, their list of needs includes classroom renovations, cafeteria updates, and drainage problems, so the idea that a new gym might take priority over these issues concerns the administration.

Hiland Park Elementary has at least four separate projects listed on the 'half-cent sales tax' projects, like the need for an upgraded cafeteria so the students can self serve. The school says it has the smallest administrative area in all of Bay County with no health room to put contagious students.

"We feel like we should not have substandard facilities or services," says Hiland Park Elementary Principal Patti Fowler.

Additionally, the kindergarten classrooms at Hiland Park are also on the list for renovations because the need for new carpet and floorings along with cabinet space is great.

At Tuesday's school board meeting, however, Superintendent Bill Husfelt discussed moving up North Bay Haven's gym project to the top of the list, meaning it would jump more than 80 other items.

"They're losing their lease. They're going to have to go somewhere, and that's what the board is going to have to decide, whether or not that's an emergency. If they don't have a place to go, we're going to have to help them as much as we can to find a place, and that it on the list," says Husfelt.

But for a school with needs like Hiland Park Elementary, it's disconcerting.

"To move a gymnasium above ours just seems like the priorities are in the wrong. I think North Bay Haven should maybe consider some other options, possibly renewing their lease with the current location as oppose to moving our projects further down the list," says Fowler.

Husfelt believes it is pressing to move the gym project to the top of the list so the students have facilities ready when the current lease with the Central Baptist Church runs out

News 13 also spoke with both the CEO of North Bay Haven Charter Academy and the pastor of the church, both say since the lease isn't up until 2015, there has not been any discussion about renewal options.