Marianna City Commissioners voted
Tuesday night to ask the state of
Florida for vehicles and recreational
equipment used at the old Dozier
School for Boys.
Property fight
Area governments want state to give
them control of Dozier

Published: August 04, 2011
Representatives of the Marianna City Commission, Jackson County Commission, Jackson County School Board and
Jackson County Development Council and others have been meeting periodically and talking with legislative leaders
in an effort to bring the old Dozier School for Boys property under local governmental control. The entire complex-
including 900 acres in planted pines and the additional juvenile facility that was build several years ago as an adjunct
to the original Dozier facility-comes to about 1,300 acres.

The Development Council put the task group together as Dozier closed a few weeks ago. According to Council
Executive Director Bill Stanton, the group ultimately hopes that the state will turn the property over with little expense
to the local community. Stanton said they are talking with legislators in an effort to have the state “take a sympathetic
view” in light of all the job losses here in the past few years. Dozier’s closure put more than 125 people out of work,
but earlier downsizing in the past three to five years displace many other workers as well.

No concrete plans have been made for the use of the property, should it come under local control, Stanton said, but
many scenarios have been informally discussed. It’s too early, he said, to predict how it might eventually be used but
that it might serve several functions.

For instance, Jackson County School Superintendent Lee Miller visited the Dozier campus recently to see whether
some of the buildings would be suitable for the school district’s use.

He determined that they might serve as a new home for the Jackson Alternative School. The current Jackson
Alternative campus is itself a former Dozier holding, but older and smaller than the ones Miller visited. The Alternative
school is located near the Jackson County jail off Penn Avenue, essentially across the road from the part of the
Dozier campus Miller looked at as a possible new place for the school.

Miller said that the school system would likely be willing to give up its interests in the current Alternative school
campus if a deal is worked out for local government to take the Dozier property over, and if the school board were to
take control of the area he has in mind. The city or some other public entity, he said, might then be able to make use
of the property that the Alternative school would vacate.

He said the old Dozier gymnasium and ball fields might also be of use for Marianna Middle School sports, since MMS
sits very near the Dozier campus. Additionally, he said, the Dozier maintenance department could possibly replace
the portables that serve as maintenance headquarters for the Alternative school as it now exists.

“The Dozier school on the other side of the road is a newer, bigger school that Jackson Alternative and it’s laid out
just like a regular school. It has a media enter and a place for vocational classes in the back, so there are a lot of
possibilities over there for us,” Miller said. “If the decision was made that we could move over there, then we could
give up our interests on the west side to the city, the county, or whoever could use that,” he said. “We’re mighty
agreeable to some kind of arrangement that would be of benefit to everybody. We’d like to partner and work with

In the meantime, Marianna City Commissioners voted Tuesday to ask the state for several vehicles and some
recreational equipment that were being used at the old Dozier school.

The board had planned only to ask for the vehicles, but added other equipment to the list at the request of the Rev.
Ronald Dale Miser, pastor of St. James AME Church on Orange Street.

Miser wants the equipment for the McLane Center, a city-owned community recreation center in the vicinity of the