Building bridges at Port St. Joe High School

Bridges center

The new Bridges center was built in the space left vacant by the old middle school offices.

Wes Locher
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 09:22 AM.

When classes resumed at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School from the summer break, students in the Bridges program found that their old one-room facility had been replaced by nine newly-remodeled classrooms.

The space, which previously housed the middle school administrative offices were remodeled to accommodate the needs of the students.

Added classrooms include a computer lab, art room, den, bedroom where students learn home skills and a kitchen for organizational practice. In addition to needed office space, another room was built specifically for physical and speech therapy which is a critical need for the students.

“We enhance their training in order to enhance their home life,” said Superintendent of Gulf County Schools Jim Norton of the new facilities.

In years prior, Bridges students had one small area with and a side bathroom that held a toilet and a cold water vanity.

In the update, each classroom activity received its own designated space and a new bathroom was added to meet the needs of the students and includes a washer and dryer, high-powered toilet, a shower and hot water.

“It’s one hundred times better,” said instructor, Diane O’Neal, who holds a master’s degree in Special Education with a focus on middle grade students.

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