Superintendent details plans for school site

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulfport School District is trying to decide what will become of an old elementary school site and residents want in on the decision making.

Monday, people will get to weigh in on plans for the old East Ward Elementary School site, but not before the school superintendent shuts down what he calls a "rumor mill."

"We've made no definitive plans, just looking to the future to see what the Gulfport School district needs to do regarding this particular asset," said School Superintendent Glen East.

The district representative says there are a limited number of rental homes in the area for incoming teachers. That's why school leaders are considering building single family housing on the vacant property.

"It's difficult right now for a teacher graduating from college to come down and find a nice place to stay in a nice neighborhood," said East. "Things are still expensive here on the coast."

The district is considering building eco-friendly cottages on the site. It's an idea people who live in the 2nd Street community don't like.

"I have great faith in the Gulfport school system," said ward two Councilwoman Libby Milner-Roland. "I support school leaders in their endeavors. However, I represent my constituents in the area and I think that the proposed development will change the character of the neighborhood."

East says contrary to rumor, the cottages would be much different from MEMA cottages. In fact, he says, they would be very similar to homes that already exist in the community. But residents aren't buying it. There is already a petition against the plans. That's why East plans to meet with residents in hopes of putting an end to the rumor mill and to hear what residents want to see on the East Ward site.

"Maybe some of the folks who live along 2nd Street can give us some ideas to help financially help the district in the future if we don't have a good answer right now," said East.

The informational meeting will be Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Gulfport School District Administration Building.

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