History of Tom P. Haney Technical College

History of Tom P. Haney Technical College


Tom P. Haney Technical College provides career technical education and adult general education classes for residents of Bay County and the surrounding areas. The Center operates under the auspices of Bay District Schools. It was originally known as the Bay County Vocational-Technical School and was housed in the Wainwright Shipyard Administration Building near the present location of Port Panama City. Students first attended the Center at the original location in 1966, and the first program completers graduated in 1967.

It was designated as the Tom P. Haney Vocational-Technical Center in December 1966 in honor of Tom P. Haney, a prominent businessman and former school board member who strongly advocated for career technical education. In 1965 the Florida State Board of Education approved the school as an "Area Vocational Center" under the provisions of Chapter 230.62(1), Florida Statutes.

Plans for the new facility were initiated in 1965, and an architect was named. At the request of the Bay County School Board, a survey team from the Florida Department of Education conducted a program determination study March 8-10, 1966. A search for a site for the new facility was launched. The present site at 3016 Highway 77 in Panama City, Florida, was approved by the School Board in August 1966, and preliminary plans for construction were approved at that time.


The construction of Haney Technical College's administration building.


The first phase of construction at the new site was started in July 1967, and the school moved into the new facilities in 1968. This phase included the construction of three structures and a utility building to house the heating and cooling systems. Building 01 housed Administration and Guidance; Building 02 housed Cosmetology, Practical Nursing, and Sewing; and Building 06 housed the Media Center, Business Education, Commercial Art, Drafting, Distributive Education, and Radio and Television Repairs.

A second program determination study and facilities survey was made by the State Department of Education February 4-5, 1969. An architect for the second phase of construction was named the same month. A contract for the construction of the second phase for Haney Vocational-Technical Center was set in November 1969; and the new facility, Building 04, was completed in September 1970. It housed the shops and classrooms for Masonry, Welding, Automotive Mechanics, and Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.

In 1970 the School Board placed four temporary buildings on the campus for the Adult Basic and General Education programs. In the fall of 1971-72 school year, bids were let for a 40' x 30' metal building for use in the Agriculture Program. The building was finished in early 1972 and served as part of the housing for the Nursery Operations Program.

In the fall of 1973, the Adult Basic and General Education programs were moved to Shaw Adult Center (formerly Shaw Elementary School and later Shaw Kindergarten Center), 162 Detroit Avenue, Springfield, Florida.

In September 1973, plans were initiated for the construction of a building for training personnel for the Nuclear Power Products Company. An architect was named at that time; and in December of the same year, a contract was let for the "emergency" phase of construction. Building 07 was completed in 1974 and now houses the cafeteria. During the fiscal year 1975, plans were initiated for the third phase of the building program at the Center. In 1979 Buildings 03, 08, 09, and 10 were completed.

In 1997, the campus became the site for Haney Technical High School. The first year, it was called the Career Academy, operating under the umbrella of the Technical Center. In 2002, a 2.4 million dollar renovation project was completed. Bay District Schools approved another renovation project for the outside of Building 01 and several classrooms which was completed in 2004.

The high school was dissolved in 2009 due to budgetary reasons in the district.

Since 2014, Haney has undergone major renovations with complete overhauls of Practical Nursing (Building 05), Welding Technology (Building 08), Automotive Collision Technology Technician (Building 06), and multiple programs in Building 02 including the Aviation Academy programs, Electrical Trades, Marine Service Technologies, Computer Systems & Information Technology, Medical Administrative Specialist, the Testing Center, and Student Services. Haney suffered extensive damage in October 2018 due to Hurricane Michael. All programs were able to reopen within 6 weeks, and repairs are ongoing. Since 2019 a new Industrial Pipefitter lab has been opened, and the Automotive Service Technology program was renovated--each thanks to $500,000 Senate budget grants. Renovations to the HVAC lab and classroom began in fall 2019 due to a $614,000 Triumph fund grant.

The Center currently offers a variety of career technical education programs. In addition to these classes, the Adult General Education Program provides opportunities for students to prepare for the GED and basic remediation to improve the skills needed in the work place or for personal growth. The Center also serves as the General Educational Development testing site for Bay County and is a service provider for CareerSource Gulf Coast. Haney maintains a strong relationship with business and industry by having advisory committees for each full-time program. These committees are comprised of individuals who are established in the businesses, industries, or agencies they represent. Committee members provide program evaluation, training, advice, and other services to ensure that Haney’s programs remain current with industry trends and projections for future growth.

In January 2022, Tom P Haney Technical Center underwent a name change to Tom P. Haney Technical College.


Student celebrates graduating from Haney Technical Center.
Credit: Photographer Patty Blake, The NewsHerald, May 29, 2014.

Tom P. Haney




Tom P. Haney was born April 28, 1913, in Minor Hill, Tennessee, and grew up with 11 siblings. He lived with his uncle while attending high school, and his grandfather was his principal. Mr. Haney was an excellent athlete who played basketball and baseball. After high school, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend David Lipscomb College and play baseball.

He dropped out of college to get a job. Mr. Haney began working for the Nabisco Company and opened up a new sales territory in Northwest Florida. He drove a route, and his biggest seller was Saltine Crackers--a popular item with local oyster men. Tom Haney married his high school sweetheart, Sarah Ingram, and had two children, Tom and Ted. He decided to open his own grocery store in Downtown Panama City with a business partner. Eventually, he expanded and opened a larger store.


As a loving family man, Mr. Haney wanted to spend more time with his family, so he decided to change career fields. He began working in sales in the insurance industry so that he could work better hours. Mr. Haney was a natural salesman who loved to meet people.

"My dad wanted students to have an option besides college - partly because he didn't graduate. He felt that people could go wherever their goals would take them if they were given the tools and the opportunity to get there. He was motivated and liked to see others motivated."  - Ted Haney




Mr. Haney supported the community in many ways. He volunteered as a Sunday School Director for 20 years and coached a variety of youth sports. Mr. Haney was also appointed by the governor to fill an unexpired term on the Bay County School Board. He then ran for his next three terms unopposed before retiring having served from 1954-1966. He knew that many students were unable or unwilling to attend college. Because he did not have a college education, he felt that it was important for people to have an option to attend a vocational school in order to learn a trade that could be a career.


"Mr Haney's Leadership and vision to understand the need for career training and education was ahead of his time. His support for public education and understanding that education must go beyond the senior year in high school was invaluable in the establishment of Tom P. Haney Technical Center."  - Bill Husfelt, Superintendent, Bay District Schools




Mr. Haney used his position as a School Board member to push for a vocational school to be opened in Bay County, Florida. The school was completed after he retired from office, but it was named in his honor. Originally known as the Bay County Vocational-Technical School, it was housed in the Wainwright Shipyard Administration Building near the present location of Port Panama City. It was renamed the Tom P. Haney Vocational-Technical Center in December 1966. Construction of the current facility on Baldwin Road was completed in 1968.

Now known as Tom P. Haney Technical College, it provides technical training and adult general education classes for residents of Bay County and the surrounding counties. Students can earn their GED or get technical training. Classes are offered at various times in many different programs. 

Thousands of people have attended Tom P. Haney Technical College since its opening in 1968. Tom Haney’s goal was to give students the chance to learn a vocational trade and have a strong career to support themselves and their families. Haney Technical College is still fulfilling that goal today.


The Legacy of Tom P. Haney from Paris Janos


“I studied Commercial Art at Tom P. Haney Technical Center as a junior and senior in high school in 1974 and 1975 under James Chichester. Upon graduation from Bay High, I attended the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, where I found the skills developed at Haney put me well ahead of other students at the school. Once I returned to Panama City and started working at NewsChannel 7, I employed many of the skills I developed at Haney in my job as Art Director. I still use many of these skills today and appreciate the training I received from Haney on a daily basis."


Paris Janos
Art Director
NewsChannel 7


The Legacy of Tom P. Haney from Dennis Byrd


“Haney was a blessing for me. I was never really college material, and the ‘hands-on’ vocational style fit me. I had been working fast food for eight years, and I knew I needed a skill to better myself. Enrolling in Electronics Technology at Haney was the best move I ever made. I needed a little reassurance that I could actually do this. That is when my teachers, Mike Adams and John Chapman, made the difference. Not only were they encouraging, but they became friends who wanted me to succeed. Succeed I finally did. All of a sudden I was employable for technical jobs. With my Haney certification in hand, I was interviewed and hired for a technical position with Bay District Schools where I remain 20 years later. If it were not for Haney, I am not sure where I would be today.”


Dennis Byrd
ITV Specialist
Bay District Schools

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