Talks of a possible high school for Destin are back again, but is the reality of a new school closer than before?

Talks of a possible high school for Destin are back again, but is the reality of a new school closer than before?

“It [a high school in Destin] is something the council has wanted,” said Destin City Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell.

School Board Member Dewey Destin explained that there were always two problems that kept the district from creating a high school for Destin. First, there were not enough high-school-aged students to attend the institution, and second, finding enough land to build a school remained a daunting task.

However, Ramswell recently released two suggestions for where the school could be located.

“I continue to believe that the Old Time Pottery/ Lively Theater area would be excellent, as would the property of Henderson Beach Road between Commons and 98, east of Wal-Mart,” said Ramswell in her monthly newsletter to her supporters.

Ramswell told the Log that finding these pieces of property that would be large enough to house a school has propelled talks within the community. And now that Destin residents are talking about it, the county has started doing some research.

 “We have to find out if we have the numbers,” said Destin.

Last time this issue arose, the county found that there were not enough students to attend the school, and according to Ramswell, during that time, the middle school and elementary school in the area were struggling to gain students. However, now, the elementary and middle school have expanded, and their populations are growing exponentially.

“There is a huge aging population, and they are going to need somewhere to go,” said Ramswell.

And while the school board has not officially set things in motion, Henry Kelley, program director of the Office of Community Affairs for the Okaloosa County School District, requested some specific data about the Destin area, such as how many high-school-aged students live in Destin.

Kelley found that there were not enough students in the Destin area for a high school.

“Currently, Destin has approximately 145 students per grade level in our schools. As such, the number of courses and electives that could be offered may limit student educational opportunities. Further, this could limit the number of extracurricular activities open to Destin students as well, due to the smaller student population,” Kelly said.

However, Ramswell disagrees with these numbers, saying she believes that there are many more than that graduating from eighth grade each year.

“We need the community to be behind it,” said Ramswell. “As long as we have interest and community support, I think it [a high school in Destin] should be pursued.”