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Fort Walton Beach High School unveils new 17,500 sq.ft. multi-purpose facility

The Okaloosa County School District and community leaders gathered Thursday morning to celebrate the opening of a new 17,500 sq.ft. multi-purpose facility at Fort Walton Beach High School, the first […]

The Okaloosa County School District and community leaders gathered Thursday morning to celebrate the opening of a new 17,500 sq.ft. multi-purpose facility at Fort Walton Beach High School, the first multi-purpose facility completed at a district high school.

  • The building is one of 19 construction and renovation projects happening at 15 schools across the county funded by a half-cent sales tax referendum approved by voters.

Upon arrival, guests were greeted by the Viking cheer and dance teams, along with music from the FWBHS Band. The JROTC presented the colors and the Voices of Valhalla sang that national anthem. 

The FWBHS Viking Band welcoming guests
Superintendent of Schools Marcus Chambers walking up to the new multi-purpose facility at FWBHS.

“If this isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is,” Superintendent Marcus Chambers said during remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “This half-cent sales tax has been a game-changer in our school district.”

  • Currently underway are upgrades like new roofs, air conditioning systems, cafetoriums and classrooms, in addition to the stand-alone multi-purpose buildings underway at each high school.
Backside of the new facility.
School board members and community members being greeted by FWBHS Cheer and Dance team members.

The one at Fort Walton Beach High features rolling bay doors that open to a large outdoor area with a canopy. Inside there is a kitchenette, bathrooms and an expansive interior equipped with basketball goals that can convert to spaces for other activities.

School principal Lindsey Smith said it will allow for new academic offerings in engineering, biomedical science and test preparation, plus serve as a place for ROTC, career technical education, archery and robotics. Additionally, Edwins Elementary across the street will also be able to make use of the facility if needed.

  • “It’s important to point out that we have all of these groups here and I’m so glad that you got to enjoy them,” Smith told the audience filled with cheer and dance teams, the choir, band and JROTC color guard. “This is a multi-purpose building, and this building will allow us to provide spaces for them to do this work and to expand even more than they even know.”

The building was designed by local architect Jason Floyd. General contractors were Jacob’s Titan and Lord & Son Construction.

FWBHS Principal Lindsey Smith

Smith thanked everyone in attendance for the help and dedication to making the facility a reality. She especially thanked former Principal John Spolski who helped get the project started before his promotion as Assistant Superintendent.

  • “I came in on the tail end and get to make this speech, but these people have been working really hard for a long time to make sure that the most perfect building is here for our students,” said Smith.
Voices of Valhalla sing the national anthem.
JROTC presenting the colors.

Spolski, who accepted his new role in late 2023, was on hand and couldn’t help but think back to the groundbreaking ceremony he oversaw back in 2022.

“My heart is just full of excitement to see the reaction of not only the community here that helped launch this, but the students,” he said. “I remember being here and watching them break ground and now to actually feel it, it’s amazing.”

He said the buildings will get used “for all kinds of things across our district,” as other multi-purpose buildings wrap up construction.

Inside of the new facility.

Superintendent Chambers also thanked community members for their role in making the half-cent sales tax reality after it was first proposed five years ago. 

  • “This was a ground-level effort of the community wrapping their arms around our school and saying that they want the facilities in this school district to match the excellence of academics, the arts and athletics, and I couldn’t be more grateful,” Chambers said.

School Board members and other community leaders attended the ceremony, which featured performances by student groups and tours of the new building. Students in the school’s leadership program assisted with hosting.

Superintendent Chambers said great things are in store for the district as it maintains excellence in academics while upgrading infrastructure.

  • “Fixing our infrastructure, fixing our buildings and adding to it, it’s something that I know that we’re all extremely proud of and I can’t be more excited for the possibilities to come,” he said. “So thank you.”
Superintendent Marcus Chambers.

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Community Comments

“Would like to know this as well.”
“This is Awesome/ Thank You for Your Service Reuse an Recycle”
“Carolyn, there is two of them this year, the one at the fairgrounds is still on the 27th”
“I thought this was scheduled for April 27th at Fair grounds in FWB.”
“Is there a limit on the amount?”
“Couldn’t the tennis courts be used for Pickle Ball Courts?”
“How come we haven't heard about any charges or anything about the person who hit this lady ?”
“Stayed at the Calypso resort last week. Overran with immaturity. Teens were throwing beer bottles from the balcony and dog shit while kids were swimming in the pools below.”