Oldest building in Lakeshore community gets restored

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The oldest building left standing in Hancock County's Lakeshore community after Katrina will be saved WLOX spoke to some of those who fought to preserve a piece of history and give it a future.

Jimmy Ladner first walked the halls of Gulf View Elementary School when he was just seven years old.

"This is where I went to second grade," said Ladner.

Ladner, is now the County Tax Assessor, he said the school will always have a special place in his heart.

"The people that probably did more to ground me into who I'm today came straight from that building," Ladner explained.

The building is actually the third Gulf View Elementary School. The original burned down in 1947.

When a larger school came along in the 1970s the second Gulf View became an annex building.

For many people in the Lakeshore Community, saving it has become very important since Katrina destroyed so much.

"We did our best not to have it torn down, it was up and down for a long time with FEMA," said Hancock County District 1 Supervisor David Yarborough.

Ladner echoed his words.

"It's the last conduit to our past in this community I grew up here. This is one of the old buildings that remain if you go in any direction two or three miles there's nothing left."

Hurricane Katrina filled the old school with 12 feet of water.

"It had quite a bit of damage to the roof a lot of the windows blew out , quite a bit of wind damage throughout the building," said Project Manager, William Harris.

The $569,000 restoration project will turn the old Gulf View into an extension of the County's Early Childhood Development Center.

And there is room for other opportunities in the future.

Yarborough said, "it's just a matter of keeping something in this area that's been here for a long time."

The building is expected to be ready to open in December.

FEMA and County insurance proceeds will fund the project.

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