Renovation plans unveiled for Katrina damaged school in Moss Point

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Preliminary designs were unveiled Wednesday for the new Magnolia Junior High School in Moss Point. Hurricane Katrina significantly damaged the old facility, forcing students and teachers to relocate to Ed Mayo, a much smaller, vacant school in the district.

"It is really a transformation of an existing building," architect Gary Bailey said.

The transformation was created by Gary Bailey and his team from Dale/Bailey Architects. He presented the contemporary designs to Moss Point school officials. Bailey's concept is to remove all the scars of Katrina and bring a brand new identity and life to the school.

"The building will be new from all of its systems. The existing floors and roof structure will be the only things that will stay," Bailey said.

The $8 million project includes a huge clock tower in front of the school, an expanded lobby area, and hallways with electronic monitors.

"It takes the knowledge work inside the classrooms and transforms it into the public areas that will be used every day by kids," Bailey said.

A special cultural museum to teach kids about Moss Point's history is also included in the plans. All this renovation talk has Superintendent Kim Staley excited about the future.

"It is bringing the school up to a standard where all schools should be. It is a basically a new building, and it's going to be a new school. That is going to bring a lot of excitement," Staley said.

The new school will provide students with a more comfortable and modern place to learn.

"Once the community sees this building and sees the atmosphere, they will want to bring their children here."

Superintendent Staley says the multi-million dollar project will be partially funded with FEMA and MEMA funds. School officials are hoping to start construction early next year and finish the work by December 2010.

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