Ribbon cutting ceremony for new School Board District Board Room

The Washington County School District held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday afternoon for the new location of the Washington County School District Board Room at 750 Sinclair Street in Chipley (formerly the Kate M. Smith Elementary School cafetorium).

From the program …

The Kate Smith Elementary School was dedicated on October 25, 1954 in memory of Mrs. Kate McSwean Smith, a beloved teacher at the school since 1923 and who served as its principal for three years. 

The original KMS campus opened with 12 classrooms, an office suite, faculty lounge, clinic, boiler room and two central bathrooms for grades one to three.

In 1956, nine additional classrooms, a library, and a cafetorium were added. Kindergarten classes were added in 1958 and the sixth grade joined the campus in 1962. Later in 1968 the sixth grade moved to a newly organized middle school. 

The campus continued its expansion with the opening of a kindergarten suite in 1977 and an exceptional student education facility in 1986.

With the completion of the new elementary school on South Boulevard in 2016, the original campus buildings were demolished, excluding the cafetorium and exceptional student education facility. 

Today on January 13, 2020, we dedicate the reopening of the historic cafetorium as a state-of-the-art district board room and meeting facility. The renovations were primarily made by the carpentry and electrical classes from the Florida Panhandle Technical College and by District Maintenance personnel.

Future plans are underway to renovate the adjacent exceptional student education building for a new district office facility. 

Guests were welcomed by Superintendent Joe Taylor, with Posting of Colors and Pledge of Allegiance by Chipley High School JROTC and Vernon High School JROTC. The Chipley High School band performed the Star Spangled Banner and special acknowledgements were made by School Board Chairman Dr. Lou Cleveland.

Special guests included members of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners, members of the Chipley, Vernon, Caryville, Wausau and Ebro city councils, and Warden Michael Marshburn from Northwest Florida Reception Center.

The ribbon cutting was conducted by the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, with closing remarks by Superintendent Taylor.

Refreshments were provided by the Chipley High School Culinary Arts Class.

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