Tax Dollars at Work in Two Bay County High Schools - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Tax Dollars at Work in Two Bay County High Schools

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The sound of teachers and students in two Bay County schools was replaced by the noise of circular saws and hammers Monday, the first day of summer vacation. The School Board is putting Half Cent Sales Tax revenue to work in Mosley and Rutherford High Schools.

A single whiteboard, at Mosley High School is about all that's left from the 2013 - 2014 school year.  "When the students left, the construction crews came in fast on their heals," Principal Sandy Harrison said.

The 42-year old facility is getting a $6.3 Million renovation this summer. The classrooms, hallways, cafeteria, kitchen and other common areas will be reconfigured and receive new walls, flooring and paint. New, large windows will also be installed into the cafeteria, which currently has no natural light.

"It's going to be an updated and brand new version of Mosley High School, one of the most phenomenal projects we have in the county," Dr. John Haley, Director of Operational Support Services for the District, said.

"A lot of the classrooms have removable partitions that have never been moved so they're making it more permanent," Harrison added.  "It's going to be more sound proof for the teachers."

Rutherford High School is also undergoing a $10.2 Million renovation. Phase two kicked off as students and teachers left for summer. The cafeteria and classrooms upstairs above it are getting a makeover.

"Our gym is a showplace. Our auditorium is a showplace and now our cafeteria will be a showplace," Principal Coy Pilson said.

Phase one of the project, which began earlier this year, is nearing completion. It includes renovations to three classroom wings and construction of a new central heating and cooling system.

"In the past, we've done this and we've just saved hundreds of thousands of dollars," Dr. Haley added about a new HVAC System.  "Likewise, the same thing will happen here at Rutherford High School."

Construction crews will be on both campuses throughout the summer working to provide an updated and more welcoming environment for students in the Fall.

"If you have an assembly in a nice auditorium, the students tend to act better," Harrison said, comparing the current campus to a renovated one.  "If you have an assembly in a gym, they act like they're in a gym so it's going to be much better."

"What better investment than to make a safe and inviting environment for our children," Pilson added.  "I'm thankful to the taxpayers. I'm thankful for the Half Cent Sales Tax."

Harrison and Pilson expect their campuses to ready when students return on August 19th and all construction to wrap up by the end of the year.