Wednesday, October 11, 2023 / by Richard Eimers
The Okaloosa County School Board is moving forward with plans to purchase a 7.6-acre parcel of land adjacent to Destin Elementary School after the seller accepted their offer.
- The school board voted unanimously on Sept. 27 to pursue acquiring the vacant property at 401 Beach Drive, which recently went on the market.
On Monday, School Board Attorney Jeff McInnis updated the board that the Canadian bankruptcy receiver has accepted its offer of $4,025,000 for the land. The board had previously authorized the Superintendent and Board Chairman to submit the purchase proposal.
The accepted offer is in the form of an option-to-purchase agreement. The school board will now hold a public hearing with 30 days’ published notice before taking a final vote to convert the option into a formal purchase contract.
- McInnis said the bankruptcy receiver made one change to the original proposal, which the board agreed to. The board also authorized the Chairman to initial the counter proposal and the Superintendent to release the earnest money deposit.
Acquiring the extra land will allow for more efficient student drop-off and pickup lines at Destin Elementary, help reduce traffic congestion around the school and provide additional outdoor space, according to Superintendent Marcus Chambers.
Three independent appraisals valued the 7.6 acres between $2.3 million and $3.8 million. However, the seller had previously suggested a $4 million offer based on previous interest, according to Destin City Attorney Kim Kopp.
Chambers said controlling what is built next to Destin Elementary is a key factor in this purchase.
- “This acquisition would allow for us, the school district, to control what is built directly next to the school,” Chambers said in September. “We all know that our schools, even with slowed growth, are overcapacity. So knowing that, it’s incumbent upon us to plan for future growth, as well as shorter term needs.”
The purchase comes as the district is also planning a new K-8 school in Crestview and additions to schools in Destin, as well as pursuing land for potential future campuses elsewhere in the county.
The public hearing is scheduled for November 13, 2023 at 6:15pm at the District location in Niceville.
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