New Hancock County school will be first in MS to go green

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hancock North Central Elementary School is definitely showing its age. And over the years, the building has taken quite a beating from powerful hurricanes.

After 52 years, the old school is just two weeks away from being torn down. What will go up in its place will be a building that will raise the bar for environmental construction.

"It's going to be the first K-12 in the state to be a LEED school," said Hancock County Schools Superintendent Alan Dedeaux.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. To help reduce waste, most of the materials from the old school will be salvaged and reused.

"They will crush this brick and use this brick in areas that you see on the softball fields," said Dedeaux. "Most metals will be taken out and recycled and used in other areas. We're not going to be placing them into landfills."

Everything inside the school will be energy efficient and environmentally friendly. For instance, the air conditioning units will have a special filtering system for better air quality, and the lights will be motion-sensored.

"The lighting will be more natural lighting, high ceilings, a lot of windows in the building," said Dedeaux. "We feel like we're going to save a great deal of money on our energy costs."

Even the construction materials will come from renewable products, like floor tiles that are plant-based instead of vinyl. Expect to see recycled carpeting and concrete on campus. Plus, only non-toxic paint, glue, and other finishes will be used. The goal of the "green school" is to create a healthy learning environment.

"I think our students will really enjoy being in a LEED school so they can start that process of knowing how important recycling and taking care of our environment really is," said Dedeaux.

The LEED certification won't happen until the construction is complete and the school undergoes a review. The school should be finished by August of next year. In the meantime, students will attend classes at West Hancock Elementary.

The school is also the first in Hancock County that is designed to be a storm shelter. Funding for the $14 million school comes from the district, FEMA, and insurance.

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