Southside Center expansion adds kindergarten, first grade

southside center standalone
Okaloosa County School District/Special to the News Bulletin
Published: Friday, August 8, 2014 at 01:42 PM.

CRESTVIEW — When classes resume Aug. 18, Southside Center will house not just voluntary pre-kindergarten students, but also kindergartners and first-graders.

The School Board approved the transition earlier this year to help cope with high elementary enrollment in the Crestview area.

Southside, which has served as a VPK and VPK-D center for about five years, had the space and renovated rooms to accommodate the older students, Principal Debbie Haan said.

With a $75,000 allocation from the board to cover the purchase of furniture, textbooks and technology, the former elementary school is taking on new life. When the older students arrive, they’ll find some new playground equipment and a cafeteria for the younger students.

The school will not provide transportation for students, but most parents didn’t express concern over that, Haan said. Instead, they embraced that their children would remain in a smaller environment for another year or two.

As of Tuesday, Southside was going to have about 350 students and all but four classrooms in use. Haan said they could take two or three additional students, but most of the classes already had reached the class size maximum set by state law.

By the 2015-16 school year, Haan said they plan to add second-grade classes and keep it that way for several years.

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