News Cast 2/16

News Cast for Febrary 16th:

Schools continue push for new Okeechobee High School

Okeechobee schools have hired an architectural firm to design and engineer the new Okeechobee High School.

Clemons, Rutherford and Associates could be paid $3.7 million for the work they do on the school.

The project cost of the project is expected to be around $66 million.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy said there is a lot of work involved in putting together plans for a new high school, “It is kind of an average kind of build compared to other buildings.  You are talking about a $66 million dollar project here.  There are a lot of safety regulations, and education specifications that they have to follow.”

Kenworthy and the district will lobby the legislature again this year to include funding in the state budget for the new high school.

He said COVID will be a huge obstacle this year.  The state has estimated a budget shortfall of $2 billion.

“We are optimistic.  If it doesn’t happen this year we are going to hit them hard next year.”

BOCC cool to water restriction policy

Okeechobee commissioners opposed new water regulations proposed by the South Florida Water Management.

They district would like to limit lawn watering as a means to conserve water.

District Agriculture Liaison and Regional Representative Libby Pigman said the goal of the new regulations are to not waste water, “What we want to do is for those people that irrigate their lawns to make sure they are doing it within those hours and are using systems that won’t be wasting water.”

Commissioner Brad Goodbread said he did not like the possibility that funding from water management for the county could be curtailed if the county does not go ahead and enact these regulations, “If we don’t do this than the stick is Okeechobee County doesn’t see any type of funding from water management.  That kind of bothers me.  It is more of what I really don’t believe in and that is government intrusion.”

Agriculture would be exempt from the water limits.