This week, Destin High School (DHS) reached a major milestone. The $4.6 million purchase contract with Grace Lutheran Church was officially closed with Greenwich Investment, LLC offering financing through municipal bonds. With the site now in the name of Destin High School, Inc., a 501-C-3 non-profit, DHS is slated for a 2021-22 school year opening to 9th, 10th and 11th graders in its first year.
After a long journey, the DHS Governing Board, comprised of members Prebble Ramswell, Denise Fountain, Myra Williams, Sarah Stone, Heidi LoCicero, Jim Luttrell, Dr. Mitch Silver, Al Gardner, and Drew Palmer, has been persistently working over the past few years to bring the project to fruition and bring the community its own high school. The much-anticipated DHS, with a comfortable 350 student capacity in year one, will be a model for innovation providing unique educational opportunities for both college-bound and vocationally-minded students living in Destin and along Florida’s Emerald Coast. The application process is now in process.
DHS’s Governing Board president Prebble Ramswell commented, “I can’t thank the community, area businesses, our Governing Board and our new Head of School Christine Cruickshank enough for making the vision of opening Destin High School become a reality now. We had fully intended to open last summer, but because of COVID, everything was delayed. We diligently kept searching for the right site for the campus so we could deliver on our promise of providing a high school and welcome the trailblazing first class of DHS students. It feels so great to see the community’s dreams come to fruition.”
In addition to the site acquisition and financing, the board has also retained the services of DAG Architects. The local architectural firm, who has designed schools across the state including Destin Middle School, is designing site plans for the retrofit, and set forth a strategic plan to accomplish the renovation in record time. Lord & Sons will be overseeing the construction/renovation of the buildings and property.
DHS, a tuition-free public charter school, just held its first Informational Meet & Greets for potential students and their families. The event was a success and well attended. Head of School, Christine Cruickshank will continue to be on hand during the weekdays at the site from 2 to 6 p.m. to accept student applications and answer any questions. She will also be handling many other activities, including the hiring of faculty and staff.
Fundraising is a critical component of opening the school. The start-up costs alone are $400,000 at a minimum. Long-term, the more revenue raised, the less needed to be financed, thus putting additional revenue into student programming, opportunities, and options. Of course, when DHS is fully operational, as with all public educational institutions, the school will receive state and federal government funding.
Area businesses and individuals interested in donating can contact the DHS fundraising chair and Governing Board Treasurer Sarah Stone at (850) 598-6888 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional information on registering, donating, or volunteering, please call (850) 424-1664, email email@example.com
, or visit www.destinhighschool.org
Photo Caption: At the Information Sessions meeting, Priority Title President Lori Ellen Ward presents DHS Governing Board President, Prebble Ramswell with the new property deed in DHS’s name from the Grace Lutheran property sale.