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Lighthouse Private Christian Academy remodeling East Milton Park

Lighthouse Private Christian Academy (PCA) acquired the East Milton Park athletic fields from Santa Rosa County last fall and has been working tirelessly alongside the county to bring the fields back to life for the community.

Before Lighthouse PCA acquired the athletic fields of East Milton Park, the fields were not very usable because they were not maintained, and the gymnasium floor was concrete.

“The county commissioners allowed us to manage and renovate the East Milton Park and we’re making great strides,” founder and president of Lighthouse PCA Dr. Joanna Johannes said.

Since August 2023, Lighthouse has put in dugouts, restored bullpens and resurfaced all of the baseball and softball fields with new grass and new clay.

The hope is that teams from all over the county take advantage of these renovations and use them for practices, games and even tournaments.

“Any youth team in Santa Rosa County that wants to come out and use the park – that’s what our sole mission is, to get this thing opened up for Lighthouse, but also the youth of this community,” Lighthouse High School Athletic Director Ricky Broxson said.

Lighthouse has also revamped concession stands, cleaned up the property, and the school is currently finishing putting a new white maple floor in the gymnasium, replacing the current concrete floor.

As soon as the gym floor is complete, Lighthouse PCA plans to hold a patriotic ribbon cutting around the Fourth of July.

“As soon as the gym floor is finished, it’s going to be useful for not just Lighthouse, but for the community,” Johannes said.

Lighthouse has spent almost $100,000 on the East Milton Park renovations with more to come.

People often ask Johannes why she is willing to invest in something that is not hers.

“It’s for the students because they need it,” she says. “It’s the cost of doing business and having great athletic programs, and it helps the community as well, so it’s a win-win situation.”

“With high school coming in and potentially starting a collegiate program through Lighthouse Christian College, we’re going to need the room and dugouts for our players, so that’s our goal,” Broxson said.

The 70-acre park has 12 ball fields, including softball, baseball and t-ball fields. It also consists of a full-length football field with four surrounding soccer fields and Lighthouse is working to re-sod that grass as well. Lighthouse Christian College will be starting its inaugural football season this fall. They will use this football field as a practice surface and potentially play some games on it in the fall.

“The commissioners see the potential that this park brings. It brought a lot of joy 20 years ago and the infrastructure’s still here to bring that joy to the kids,” Broxson said. “As long as we can continue to build this and grow it over time, I feel there’s going to be a bunch of kids that get to come out and utilize it, and maybe some future big leaguers and future stars will come through here.”

Lighthouse has competed with a high school baseball team for seven years, but they’ve never had their own home field to practice and play on, until this year.

“I feel like it evolved the program and brought it to a different standard, and we went down and won a state championship in the first year because of it,” Broxson said.

“This field really was a blessing to us,” Johannes said. “We don’t believe we could have gotten there without a home field to play on.”

Before Lighthouse acquired the East Milton Park fields, the baseball team, along with other sports, would practice at whatever field they were able to rent at the time. Now, their baseball team will play all home games at East Milton Park.

“When you’re renting a field, it’s not your place. You’re not there every single day. It doesn’t develop that culture, it doesn’t instill spirit for the kids to want to come out,” Broxson said. “When you play on your own home field – you want to fight to win all those games.”

Lighthouse Private Christian Academy

Milton campus
6123 Dogwood Drive Milton, FL 32570

Gulf Breeze campus
1530 New Hope Rd Gulf Breeze, FL 32563

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