When students show up for the start of school at what has been Dothan High School for 80 years, they’ll find the name changed across the front of the art deco building.
It will now serve grades 7-9 under its new name: Dothan Preparatory Academy. School officials estimate more than 1,800 students will converge on the site. The “new” Dothan High, originally named Northview in 1978 when it was built to accommodate a growing student population, will be home to approximately almost 1,900 public school students in grades 10-12.
The Dothan City school board made a historic decision in November 2018 to merge the two high schools and four middles schools, respectively, because of years of declining enrollment and financial instability. Chief Financial Officer Mike Manuel has said the school system would not have been able to sustain itself with the continual reduction in state funding caused by an outflow of students.
In addition to the middle school and high school, Dothan will have Highlands, Kelly Springs, Slinguff, Girard, Faine, Carver, Heard, Selma Street, and Hidden Lake Elementary schools.
All the schools in the system built before 2000 are technically owned by the city of Dothan, although operated by the school board. The city will take full ownership of the three abandoned schools – Cloverdale, Grandview, and Montana – and the remainder of Young Junior and two central office locations on Dusy Street at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.