Destin High School was originally scheduled to open in August 2020, but a contract between the school’s governing board and a local church for the purchase of the campus recently fell through.

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DESTIN — The opening of Destin High School will be pushed back from August 2020 to August 2021, according to a press release sent out by the DHS governing board on Thursday.


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DHS had a contract to purchase Destin United Methodist Church and convert it into the school's campus, while DUMC had a simultaneous agreement to purchase the Grace Lutheran Church campus.


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The contract between DHS and DUMC required that the purchase of Grace Lutheran be made simultaneously on March 30, with DHS making a $2.1 million down payment on the approximately $12 million property.


According to the release from DHS, DUMC was not able to enter into its contract with Grace Lutheran on March 30 for a "variety of factors."


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The release also said that while the DHS governing board will continue discussions with both DUMC and Grace Lutheran, it would now also begin to look at a different location for the school - an "additional Destin property that an out-of-state landowner has proposed as a potential site."


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"With this closing delay, the high school would not have a sufficient amount of time to do the necessary renovations to retrofit the campus," said DHS governing board President Prebble Ramswell. "(Or) continue student recruiting and enrollment, and fundraising activities prior to the scheduled opening date of August of 2020."


The COVID-19 pandemic also played a role in pushing back the start date for DHS - with all schools closed until at least May 1 and Governor Ron DeSantis issuing an official "Stay at Home" order for Floridians this week, it hindered the ability of DHS to continue to seek out students through face-to-face informational sessions.



Florida allows charter schools to defer opening without penalty, and the DHS board said it will seek a one-year deferral. Additionally, the list of DHS principal candidates has been narrowed to three and the board said it will have those candidates travel to Destin for one-on-one interviews once the "Stay at Home" order is lifted.


Students who had already been admitted to DHS and were set to enroll for the fall session will be able to go to their assigned school district for the 2020-21 school year and join DHS for 2021-22 if they so choose. The school's original plan was to have only ninth and 10th graders for the first year then expand to grades 9-12 for the second year.


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