New Middle School In Beulah; New Elementary For Cantonment, West Florida High To Move

June 17, 2015

The Escambia County School Board voted Tuesday evening to purchase 32 acres of land for a new middle school in Beulah, part of a plan that includes the construction of a new elementary school next to Ransom Middle School in Cantonment.

The Nine Mile Road land will cost just under $2 million for property in the 6000 block of West Nine Mile Road, at the current Coastal Airport. Plans call for the construction of a middle school for $45 to $48 million that will have a capacity of 1,100 to 1300 students. Students will be relocated to the new school from Woodham Midde, while hundreds will be rezoned from the overcrowded Ransom Middle.

A new $25 million, 800 student elementary school will be constructed adjacent to Ransom Middle School on property already owned by the district. It will help alleviate overcrowding at Beulah and Pine Meadow elementary schools. The Ransom property currently being used by Tate High School for agriculture and by the Roy Hyatt Environmental Center will not be affected.

Both schools will be funded with Local Option Sales Tax dollars and should be ready for classed by the 2018-2019 school year.

The current Woodham Middle facility will be renovated for $3 to $5 million to  house West Florida High School, providing the school with improved athletic facilities including a stadium and field house. Brown Barge Middle School and PATS Center students will be relocated to the current West Florida High campus adjacent to Pine Forest High School.

The schools are planned in response to population growth in area, much of it spurred by Navy Federal Credit Union.


44 Responses to “New Middle School In Beulah; New Elementary For Cantonment, West Florida High To Move”

  1. Mel on August 24th, 2017 7:57 am

    Where can we find the new boundaries for the new middle school ?

  2. Donna Baudendistel on June 7th, 2016 2:01 pm

    There is a Gowing Group in Escambia County that would like to offer a tribute to Blue Angel’s Pilot Jeff Kuss. Name the new school Captain Jeff Kuss Middle. We need heroes in today’s world. As home of the Blue Angels – we should show him this honor.

  3. Current Student at The West Florida High School of Advanced Technology on June 23rd, 2015 11:33 am

    Coming from a current West Florida student, let me point out a few things. For the last few years, WFHS has experienced serious growth. With this growth came more athletes, which led to better athletic teams. Before these teams became somewhat good, the quality of the facilities were overlooked because the teams didn’t perform well. Well since the teams, especially football, began to compete seriously at the state level, light has been shed on the quality of the facilities (the weight room, locker room, etc. are mediocre at best). This move is direly necessary for the sports teams to continue their rise in performance. Not only will it affect the athletics and make it easier to compete with other high schools, the school will now be able to take in more students each year. Being the only A school in Escambia, doesn’t it make sense to try to get more students in there? I’m ashamed that you adults are ranting about this move, as you haven’t been in school or involved at the city level for years. There comes a point where you have to trust the city leaders to make the right choice, and without this trust, nothing could get done. And to those who are throwing a fit about the name needing to change and whatnot, then you don’t understand what West Florida is about. Just because you’re selfish about having the Woodham name back doesn’t mean that you need to go online and rant about it behind a computer screen. West Florida High School of Advanced Technology was created to make an above average magnet school in a below average county/state. Changing the name removed all that it stood for, and adding “Tech” to the end of Woodham does nothing. So again, I beg you adults to stop finding it necessary to voice your opinions online and rant out against the city officials.

  4. DAVID on June 19th, 2015 6:22 pm

    Where is the petition to keep Woodhams name. it legacy over the years is being threatened. Bad enough to down grade to a middle school. If WF is moving then they change their name. You can always add Tech to Woodham name. Titan Pride Alumni. Ready to sign

  5. steve on June 19th, 2015 5:53 pm

    WOW! What a mess this is working out to be. Good luck to everyone.

  6. WILL on June 18th, 2015 10:03 pm


  7. Sharon on June 18th, 2015 6:43 pm

    I for one am all about bringing back the Woodham Titans. And Jeff don’t act like you want on the school board whenever they voted to close down Woodham in the first place.

  8. West Florida High School of Advanced Technology Alumni on June 18th, 2015 5:40 pm

    I am sorry if I offend anyone, but it is WRONG to change the name of WFHS back to Woodham. I am truly sorry that your high school is now closed, but DO NOT put the graduates of WFHS though the SAME THING.

    The official name of the school is West Florida High School of Advanced Technology. It is named this because it is a leading school for Career and Technical Education in our part of Florida, and it has its own very unique history.

    I actually do not approve of the move because of the devastating effect it will have on the agricultural education program, but why would you want to change its name? It is not like we are combining two student bodies! The students that will move from Longleaf drive to Woodham are the same students. These students have never attended a high school other then WFHS, so WHY ON EARTH make them change their traditions, name, mascot, and identities to something completely alien to them?

    WFHS started as “The Great Experiment” for Escambia County. Our school board had never had a school like it, and it has been very successful! Our graduates continue to be some, if not the highest, achieving in the county, and our progress continues to grow. WFHS has been consistently ranked by the US News and World Report as a top school in our country. Now I call that HISTORY. Once again, I’m sorry your school is dead but killing another will NOT being back the school you once knew. If you can’t see that then you are blind.

  9. jeeperman on June 18th, 2015 4:38 pm

    David Lamb, you are SPOT ON, the 4H’ers got snookered.
    Blatantly SNOOKERED.
    The 4H’ers and the public were all told that the helicopter field next to Navy Fed was not available and so they MUST SELL for the good of the local economy.
    Then about six months after the deal, we find out the county is going to obtain the helicopter field after all.
    For an industrial park.
    Which will also create a housing boom and more citizens in the immediate area.

    Coastal Airport property is on the south side of Nine Mile between Beulah Road and the Rebel Road.
    Or immediately behind Beulah Academy of Science.

    More than half of the airport parcel is only 280 feet wide.
    But is wider at and does have Nine Mile Road frontage.

  10. Rusty on June 18th, 2015 11:58 am

    @jeff Bergosh

    Why not bring back the Titans? A school with a real history!

  11. Kenny on June 18th, 2015 9:56 am

    Move west Florida there and rename it Woodham. Bring back the Titans! A school with real history.

  12. Start Fresh on June 18th, 2015 7:43 am

    Seems to me it needs a new name. so it will be a “New” High School. New Location. Keeps any bad associations from either school (Woodham or West Fla) following the new improved plans. Both schools have a long reputation history of good and bad.
    Granted I agree with “Rusty” Woodham would be better than West Florida.
    I would NEVER send a child of mine to West Florida because of its history, don’t care what you all think it is now.
    Get rid of the bad associations and start fresh.

  13. Mindy Matteson on June 18th, 2015 7:22 am

    If I’m not mistaken (and may be off by a spot or two on stats), Escambia County is the second poorest county in the state of Florida and Navy Federal is the second largest employer in the state of Florida (second to Disney). I applaud the efforts to bring larger businesses into our community and provide much needed jobs. Adding schools will also add jobs, as well as provide children the space they need to learn, hopefully improving the zoning and drive times to and from school. Building homes and other businesses in the quickly-expanding Beulah provides even more jobs. Now, if we can just give the DOT some vision to keep up with the growth and “pave” the way with funds towards some road work and traffic flow improvements, we’ll really be in business!

    The move of WFHS to the old Woodham campus makes perfect sense and is a much better use of the facilities. They already bus athletes to this campus to their stadium for ballgames. This was the original plan and from what I understand, this building is not fully occupied currently. It might also provide a larger net with the lottery system WFHS has for accepting students.

    Concerned citizens and registered voters make a difference. Know your facts, send your concerns (respectfully) to those who represent your district, take questions to your representative’s office, attend school board meetings so you can better understand the needs, and make educated votes. When you don’t get involved or vote, you cancel out a portion of your right to complain. Forward motion is necessary and while we may not agree with every decision, we’re not always aware of the bigger picture. I applaud the efforts and support the relief of overcrowded schools and making better use of underused facilities.

    Let’s move Escambia county out of second place and champion quality education and learning environments for our kids!

  14. Jeff Bergosh on June 18th, 2015 6:46 am

    @Rusty-nobody can explain many of the bad facility decisions that have been made. Instead of assigning blame to those that are no longer affiliated with our schools, I prefer to look at the present and I’m interested in achieving the best solutions for our students and taxpayers devoid of politics. I fully support an independent study at this point because I feel we are going the wrong direction; Re-read my earlier post—- I’ve listed some solid solutions. Demonizing people does not help and has no place in the conversation–instead lets look at facts: The current plan does nothing to address the long running, massive over-crowding at Jim Bailey. That’s #1. Number 2 is we are already not utilizing our existing infrastructure to optimal capacity (Molino park 43% utilized, Warrington MS 54% utilized Northview, under-utilized, Ernest Ward, under-utilized–and there are many more examples) I want Beulah and Pine Meadow fixed with a realistic solution not a temporary stop-gap that will not lead us to getting rid of all of the 19 portables behind Beulah ES and the 10 at Pine Meadow. I don’t want to spend $35-40 Million building a new Middle school that we don’t need. If we are smart, leave politics at the door, and make some modifications to existing facilities, swap Woodham with WFHS, and build an elementary or a K-8 in Beulah–we can keep our neighborhood schools in Cantonment and Beulah while simultaneously addressing the need for expanding middle school capacity in the NW corridor. (A Woodham MS moved to the WFHS campus could have room for as many as 1200 students–currently Woodham MS has less than 700. 1200-700=500— the extra middle school capacity we need.) Let’s be smart and not spend $75Million dollars and not address as many STUDENT needs as possible in the process.

  15. Rusty on June 17th, 2015 10:34 pm

    @ Jeff Bergosh why did the school board put two high schools right on top of each other and then close another? It never made any sense to begin with. What was done to Woodham was done because of a personal vendetta by Jim Paul. You have to see it and if you cannot then you are blind. Why not change the name of West Florida when it moved back to the Woodham Titans? That school has decades of history. I hope Malcolm Thomas gets voted out. Bill Slayton please run for superintendent.

  16. Sue on June 17th, 2015 7:41 pm

    I am always amazed at how many Escambia County residents are so strongly opposed to spending money on schools. Schools are not planned and built unless there is a need based on student population. Refurbishing an older school does nothing to make room for more students.

    Bear in mind that in addition to the jobs opening at Navy Federal, these new schools will first open construction jobs. As the schools are completed, there will be a need to hire more teachers and support staff. They will need everything from teacher assistants to cafeteria workers to bus drivers. And where will all these new workers spend their money, if not right here in Escambia County? It’s a win for the county and a win for the students.

  17. Jeff Bergosh on June 17th, 2015 6:21 pm

    We have to be smart with this new plan–as a district we have made bad facility decisions in the past for which we are now paying a price. (Northview built so far north that it can’t feasibly alleviate Tate’s over-crowding, Molino Park being built as a K-8 then only being utilized as an Elementary school, leaving it less than 50% occupied, Ernest Ward built too far north to alleviate Ransom, 2 High Schools Right on top of one-another [Pine Forest, WFHS], and the list goes on and on…) I think the idea of alleviating only 300 students from Beulah ES with this current plan will be deficient and is at best only a stop-gap measure. There is MASSIVE development going up all over Beulah off of 9 Mile Road, Mobile Highway, and Tower Ridge Road, and at the ALt 90 interchange. When all of these developments are occupied ( and they will be quickly) those 300 students pulled from Beulah, bused past NFCU construction sites and over the Highway up to Ransom, will quickly be replaced by new Beulah resident children and we will be left once again with 1000 students at Beulah and a massive “portable farm” behind that school. That is unacceptable. We got the 1/2 cent sales tax approved, lets build the Elementary School where it is needed and where it will alleviate the 19 portables at Beulah while simultaneously relieving Pine Meadow ES. This is what I will advocate for over the next few months. additionally, My feeling is we can accomplish everything we need to do by adjusting the northern Ransom attendance boundary, alleviating Ransom’s over-crowding while simultaneously fully utilizing The brand new Ernest Ward (currently under capacity, already, by 150-200 students) and then next building an elementary or K-8 at the new land site in Beulah, alleviating massive Beulah ES and Pine Meadow ES overcrowding, and then swapping Woodham Middle School directly with West Florida Tech, which will give WFHS the athletic and other facilities they desperately need, while allowing the relocated Woodham middle school to co-locate on the former WFHS campus which will open up as many as 600 extra seats for middle schoolers at the new Woodham middle school which accommodates the growth in Beulah and Cantonment. Finally, BBMS should not be moved, it can remain where it is and with a modest investment/renovation in that facility (gymnasium, track, paint, remodeled classrooms) it will serve the needs of the students quite well for years to come. Doing it this way saves us from the $35Million expenditure to move Woodham to a new MS facility in Beulah–which in turn leaves us that money ($30-35Million) to finally address the massive overcrowding in SW Escambia at Caro, Blue Angels, and Jim Bailey MS. There will be a special board meeting on Monday, July 20th at 8:00 AM to discuss these issues in greater depth.

  18. chknwngs on June 17th, 2015 6:19 pm

    WFHS is a public funded college prep school. Originally they were going to be career tract without extracurricular activities (students could take part in those at PFHS). WELL that changed, now didn’t it?

  19. steve on June 17th, 2015 5:25 pm

    WOW!! No wonder why this country is so divided. I’m reading everyone’s log
    and the fact is the area is growing leaps and bounds. The kids present and future are the one’s at stake here not the roads or houses. I’ve lived in the area all my life and one thing that’s going to happen is change, I mean we have all gotten older right and there’s nothing we can do about it! Blaming the school board, county leaders or navy fed is just lazy talk. If you really don’t like it than get out do something like maybe vote, create jobs, or stop driving around clogging up the roads. We all have to get along to make this great. I myself have to look at the landfill that used to be a rolling farm land when I was a kid Now look at it.

  20. g Hazlewood on June 17th, 2015 4:49 pm

    So, where is the Coastal Airport on 9mile?

  21. david lamb on June 17th, 2015 4:21 pm

    Sorry, but this article just brings up bad vibes. Langley Bell 4H grounds sold for 3.6 Mil and I wrote and called many of parties concerned that the 200 plus acres was valued much higher than that. I also contacted many officials to try to get some of the Helicopter landing field. “”That just couldn’t be done”, I was told. Now here is 32 acres In the same area selling for just under 2 million.
    250 acres into 32 equals 8(rounded off) 8 x2 =16.. !0 TO 16 MILLION IS WHAT LBC SHOULD HAVE BEEN WORTH!. A stinky dead fish is somewhere in the woodwork. Powers that be took advantage of the 4H members. Several people in the know told me it was worth more than 3.6 mil.

  22. B.M. on June 17th, 2015 1:27 pm

    I’m one of the student that applied to WFHS and got accepted into the school for Cox Telecommunications. I don’t think this is a good idea the school may have already chosen the liable students to attend the school. How long will it take this building to be made? I’m hoping at least four years because i want to attend WFHS because this is the course and school my sister took during her four years of attending. What if the construction is done when we are in our third year of high school? We don’t want to go to a different school, won’t this be an issue several students leaving the school.

    I am honored to be accepted into WFHS, my career teacher is Mr. Thomas Connors.
    I am a soon-to-be ninth grader, Class of 2019 and I hope to have a great school year at West Florida High School Of Advanced Technology.

  23. kjh on June 17th, 2015 12:48 pm

    WFHS should not change it’s name or mascot. It is not a regular high school. The full name is West Florida High School of Advanced Technology. They are a career oriented high school. Don’t take away that right of the student body by calling them Woodham Titan’s. That would be a slap in the face to all former, current and future students.

  24. ProudArmyParent on June 17th, 2015 12:07 pm

    gavin Price on June 17th, 2015 8:09 am This is a shame ! Our community is going down. you can not get onto nine mile road because of Navy Federal now. The residents of Beulah should have a vote.I think the majority would say NO !

    Why, the Town of Century never had a vote! They lost an elementary, a middle and a high school! Let’s be clear the Escambia County School Board does as it pleases and D*** the children involved!

    Sorry if you don’t like the thought William. The truth is the truth, and the truth is not always pleasant.

  25. Red on June 17th, 2015 12:06 pm

    why couldn’t they turn Beulah Academy of Science into a public school where they have property to add on to it already? Instead of putting another middle school less than a block apart? The school board already pays for some of BAS.

  26. Michael on June 17th, 2015 11:49 am

    They will need to redistribute all of the middle schools. Woodham reaches all the way to Johnson Avenue.

  27. JagMom on June 17th, 2015 10:58 am

    As a WFHS parent, I will be happy for our kids to have a proper campus and stadium on campus. I do hope the improvements to the Woodham campus will be sufficient for the programs WF offers, though. That concerns me. I agree that it was a shame to lose Woodham as a high school years ago, but there is no reason for WFHS to change its name or mascot and give up the heritage and pride it’s students and families have been building. JagNation

  28. Green Rocket on June 17th, 2015 10:31 am

    So you think moving Navy Federal here with 10,000 high paying jobs is not a good idea since most of that income is spent here? I do not understand why you would not like more jobs. Eventually, the roads will be changed so it can accommodate all of these people. It is a shame that the road situation is like it is but plans are not made far enough in the future to handle the traffic. It is a good thing that they are building more schools to handle the number of new students who will be here when all of the new people will be working at Navy Federal.

  29. Tom on June 17th, 2015 10:22 am

    I feel that when WFHS moves back to Woodham, the name needs to be changed back to the original name and mascot. It should have never been shut down as a high school.

  30. Puddin on June 17th, 2015 10:17 am

    Instead of tearing down old and building new, at a cost of hundreds of millions. (by the time they finish). Why not refurbish the old schools currently held by the county? It would save millions in the long run. Then, if the District is determined to spend rest, they could use it to lure a better quality of school personel. Offer a higher rate of pay and better quality books and equipment. Bring the arts and music programs back up to where they belong, etc. (I am not saying our teachers and support staff are not good. But we could do better) We could also keep teachers and support personel longer if we were competative with pay and benifits.

    In short, I feel we can use the money for better things.

  31. phillip on June 17th, 2015 9:19 am

    Finally. Growth from Navy Federal and other businesses in that area are putting a strain on existing schools. This is completely necessary. I don’t understand why some people here are against it? More kids == more schools.

  32. Tim on June 17th, 2015 9:02 am

    The whole Woodham High School never made sense to begin with. West Florida was opened in 2001 and then Woodham was closed 5 years later. They convert the Woodham campus to a middle school for 8 years and now want to make it a high school. Would have made more since to do that to begin with. I think it would be fitting to rename West Florida to Woodham and bring back the Titans.

  33. Makes sense... on June 17th, 2015 8:54 am

    I live in Beulah off mobile hwy and I think it’s a great idea! Moving them from Woodham to the new school actually isn’t that big a deal bc when I was in middle school, I lived in Beulah, I went to Wedgewood which is closed now and it’s right down the street from Woodham. So the students are already bused WAY far away. It’ll be good for the community. Keeping it local and hometown. At least it’s not restaurants or walmart. I’m thankful.

  34. Debra Manning on June 17th, 2015 8:42 am

    Why would you build more schools when you cant even handle the ones you have now. Makes no sense to me what so ever

  35. gavin Price on June 17th, 2015 8:09 am

    This is a shame ! Our community is going down. you can not get onto nine mile road because of Navy Federal now. The residents of Beulah should have a vote.I think the majority would say NO !

  36. northofI10 on June 17th, 2015 7:43 am

    WFHS now moving to where it was initially intended to be in the first place years ago. Should have never had two high schools on top of each other.

  37. William on June 17th, 2015 7:11 am

    >>So I guess this is a repeat of the 4-H club the school board and staff will steal Ag land from students because staff does not care. The land that is used for teaching Ag students about Agriculture will be taken to build a schoo

    “The Ransom property currently being used by Tate High School for agriculture and by the Roy Hyatt Environmental Center will not be affected.”

  38. BPD on June 17th, 2015 7:09 am

    WFHS is an academy school, students must qualify (grades, attendance, disciplinary record) for entry and be selected in a lottery, with the selection being proportional from all high school zones in the county

  39. kjh on June 17th, 2015 7:06 am

    WFHS is getting more and more applications each year. Attendance is not zoned. Any student in Escambia County can apply. Students must meet certain requirements before even being eligible. The students are chosen by a lottery. Woodham Middle school football field is already the home field for WFHS. The middle school doesn’t even use half of the campus. Moving WFHS over to that campus opens up for more students to attend.

  40. Stephen on June 17th, 2015 6:46 am

    To my knowledge WFHS students are selected through a “lottery” and/or have to test into the school. Not every student who wants to do there is accepted. And based off recent events at Escambia, recruitment of players is against district policy.

  41. Maximus on June 17th, 2015 6:45 am

    Isn’t a middle school in Beulah a little far to take students when they’re at Burgess Road? My niece lives on Olive east of the skating rink and she is zoned for Pine Forest High. Why the weird district zones?

  42. Parent of WF student on June 17th, 2015 6:41 am

    There is no district for WFHS. Students must meet certain criteria & apply. They use a lottery system for acceptance. They do not recruit athletes.

  43. Friends of FFA on June 17th, 2015 6:41 am

    So I guess this is a repeat of the 4-H club the school board and staff will steal Ag land from students because staff does not care. The land that is used for teaching Ag students about Agriculture will be taken to build a school. It is clear that leaders within Escambia County does not care about Ag. Election time is just around the corner.

    We already hurt 4-H kids and we are going to hurt FFA.

  44. question mark on June 17th, 2015 5:51 am

    Does West Fl HS have an attendance zone? If not, who decides who gets to go? Are athletes recruited to attend? Just curious.

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