Special guest tours Gulfport's new 28th Street Elementary

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The building stands out in the middle of the woods.  The new 28th Street Elementary School is taking shape at the corner of 31st Street and 46th Avenue in Gulfport.

"You come in, this is where all the offices will be," said Gulfport School Superintendent Glen East as he proudly showed off the $13.5 million campus.

"The library here is going to be much larger.  The playground is going to be a lot better organized and technology that's going into this building will be the best in the district at this point," East said.

East's guest on the tour was especially interested in the technology. Tom Igoe is a representative of the Thelen Reid Law Firm in New York.  The company donated about $200,000 to the Gulfport School District to help replace all the computer equipment and technology that were destroyed by Katrina.  Some of the money also went to fund a Katrina Memorial Room at Gulfport High.

"What's going through my head is the recollection of how far, in four years time, this community has come.  It's extraordinary," Igoe said.

Igoe was on his third visit to Gulfport to see projects like 28th Street Elementary come back from Katrina's destruction.  He seemed impressed with the 22 classrooms, special rooms for Art, Music, and Reading, and how each grade is separated by pods.

"It's a promise for the future," Igoe said. "It's taking a school that was destroyed in the past and rebuilding it. Not simply rebuilding it, making it much better than it was before."

"I really want to see the faces of those children when they walk in the day that it's finished," East said.

The school should be ready to open in January of 2010.  About 300 students are expected to enroll.  That is more than what 28th Street had before Katrina. Overall, the building can accommodate up to 575 children.

On Monday night, Igoe also joined in the dedication and tour of the Gulfport School District's new Technology and Support Services Building on Pass Road.  The building replaces the old East Ward Elementary School Building that was destroyed by Katrina.  The building once housed the district's technology department.

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