The State of Florida will allocate $9 million in state funding for the Seacoast Collegiate High School and Northwest Florida State College’s Dual Enrollment & Workforce Development Center.
According to a joint release from Northwest State College, this investment marks a step towards addressing the demand for higher education and workforce development opportunities within Walton County.
The Seacoast Collegiate High School is a collaborative venture between The Seaside School, Inc. and Northwest Florida State College.
According to the release, the $9 million state funding approval was made possible through the dedicated efforts and advocacy of the Florida Legislature, Governor Ron DeSantis, and key legislators, including Senators Doug Broxson and Jay Trumbull, Representatives Tom Leek and Shane Abbott, House Speaker Paul Renner, and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo.
Senator Doug Broxson, one of the champions of this initiative, stated, “Investing in quality education is vital for the growth and prosperity of our communities. The Seacoast Collegiate High School and Northwest Florida State College expansion project will provide invaluable opportunities for the students of Walton County, empowering them to excel academically and pursue rewarding careers. I am proud to support this initiative and its positive impact on the future of our state.”
The groundbreaking ceremony, held at the Northwest Florida State College South Walton Center, was a momentous occasion. Distinguished speakers, including Patrick McCarthy, President of The Seaside School Foundation; Dr. Tom Miller, Executive Director of The Seaside School, Inc.; District 5 State Representative Shane Abbott; Dr. Devin Stephenson, President of Northwest Florida State College; Lori Kelley, Chair of Northwest Florida State College Board of Trustees; and Deputy Superintendent of Walton County School District, Dr. Jennifer Hawthorne, all emphasized the significance of this collaboration.
This groundbreaking partnership will address the need for collegiate educational opportunities and an educated workforce in Walton County. It will create a dual enrollment center and a fully functioning satellite campus of Northwest Florida State College. It will allow students to dually enroll in high school and college, earning college credits at no cost to the student without leaving Walton County. This initiative aims to increase the number of college-educated graduates in the local workforce, thereby addressing the county’s labor shortage, driving economic growth, and strengthening the local community.
Dr. Tom Miller, Executive Director of The Seaside School, Inc., expressed his gratitude for the $9 million in state funding, saying, “We are thrilled and deeply grateful for the approval of $9 million in state funding for the Seacoast Collegiate High School and Northwest Florida State College expansion project. This significant investment will allow us to create a cutting-edge educational facility that meets the growing demand for higher education options in Walton County. Through this expansion, we will empower students to achieve their full potential and become leaders in their chosen fields.”
Dr. Devin Stephenson, President of Northwest Florida State College, emphasized the transformative impact of the project: “Our mission is to train today’s students for tomorrow’s successes. This funding provides a generational opportunity for Northwest Florida State College and Seacoast Collegiate High School to cultivate significant economic, community, and workforce advancements in the region. I am confident that our enhanced partnership will be a model for successful alliances between educational institutions and will provide a significant educational opportunity to all students in our communities.”
In an incredible show of support, baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and his wife, Chris, contributed $1 million in capital campaign funds towards this ambitious project at the groundbreaking. Their generosity, coupled with the dedication of the Florida Legislature, key legislators, and educational leaders, underscores the commitment to the future of Walton County’s students.
Patrick McCarthy, President of the Seaside School Foundation, declared, “These significant milestones mark a bright future for Walton County and the students of The Seaside School, Inc. and Northwest Florida State College. With the unwavering support of Florida’s leadership, educational partners, and generous contributors like Tom and Chris Glavine, the vision of a world-class educational facility and expanded workforce development opportunities is becoming a reality in Walton County.”
The construction of the Seacoast Collegiate High School and Northwest Florida State College Dual Enrollment and Workforce Development Center has begun, and both institutions anticipate welcoming students to the new facilities in Fall 2025.
For more information about the Seacoast Collegiate High School expansion project in partnership with Northwest Florida State College and various ways to support the project, including naming opportunities, please visit SeasideSchools.net.
The Seaside School, Inc., comprised of Seaside Neighborhood School in Seaside, Florida, and Seacoast Collegiate High School on the campus of Northwest Florida State College, is the oldest operating public charter school in Florida. Founded in 1996, the school aims to address the need for a better middle school education in Walton County. Today, The Seaside School, Inc. serves nearly 400 students across two campuses, spanning grades 5th through 12th.
Located in the coastal heart of the Florida panhandle, Northwest Florida State College has earned a reputation for educational excellence and community involvement. As part of Florida’s public system of 28 state and community colleges, Northwest Florida State College offers bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, and certificates. The College’s primary service district stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the Alabama state line.