The Okaloosa County School District held a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday at Silver Sands School to celebrate a new four-classroom addition, parking lot, track and playground made possible by the voter-approved half-cent sales tax.
- Silver Sands School serves approximately 130 students ages 3 to 22 with disabilities that require services beyond regular schools’ special education programs. Students come from Okaloosa and Walton counties to attend the special day school.
“We’re so glad to have all our guests here,” said Principal Stephanie Wheat, addressing the crowd of district officials, local leaders and families gathered outside the new building. “We’re excited to show off what’s happened on our campus.”
Silver Sands opened in the 1960s after being started by parents. Over the decades, the campus has seen several additions and upgrades. The new four-classroom building marks the sixth addition, Wheat said.
Superintendent Marcus Chambers said the improvements at Silver Sands are examples of work being done at schools across the entire district thanks to the sales tax. He thanked the construction companies, maintenance staff and local officials who helped make the projects happen.
- “For our teachers, support professionals and students, this is something that is for you,” Chambers said, addressing the crowd from a podium set up near the new building.
Jason Belcher, who sits on the independent sales tax oversight committee, said the upgrades represent “a substantial generational change to the education experience here in the county.”
The committee’s job is ensuring the tax dollars are spent properly on the promised projects. Belcher said he and other members have toured the work being done.
“We represent the citizens who could not be more proud of the investment being made across the district,” Belcher said.