In addition to the big news of Seaside Neighborhood School's recently announced expansions and adding grades, the school also had more exciting news to share last week.
During a specially called ceremonial presentation last Friday, Seaside town founders Robert and Daryl Davis ceremoniously handed over the deed for the Seaside Neighborhood School Founders' building to Seaside Foundation President Rick Helfand. This was the only remaining building of three school buildings that was not owned by the Foundation.
Seaside Neighborhood School had been paying the Davises rent on the Founders' Building to the tune of around $75,000 a year, said Helfand.
Helfand approached Davis last year with a proposal to buy the building. After taking a year to think it over, Davis decided to donate the building to the Foundation instead.
"It made sense for us tax wise to donate instead of sell," said Davis.
The first and main building of the school was paid for via fees the Davises collected from allowing "The Truman Show" to be filmed in the town in the mid-1990s. The school first opened its doors in 1996 as one of the state's first charter schools and its students' scores have consistently been some of the highest in the state.
During the ceremony, the Davises were heralded as the visionaries of Seaside, and the school, which started with 35 kids attending classes in trailers. Today 133 students attend and are selected by lottery.
The Davises donated land for all three buildings.
As for making any more such donations, Davis said he is presently in talks to see whether he can and will donate land on which to build a high school which would be an extension of Seaside Neighborhood School.
"There is the possibility of donating the Lyceum and land for more school buildings," he said. "But it is still in talks. The idea for Seaside Neighborhood School depends on students being engaged in the community and its cultural activities. We are talking to see if it can be worked out."
Seaside Neighborhood School currently serves grades six through nine.
The first expansion will occur when SNS opens its first high school this fall for grades nine and 10 on the Northwest Florida College South Walton campus.
Its first elementary school follows in the fall of 2014 at Alys Beach.
The school is set to add an 11th grade in 2014, with a 12th grade slated to follow suit in 2015.