Biloxi's school superintendent took WLOX on a special tour of Gorenflo and Nichols Elementary Schools Wednesday. Dr. Larry Drawdy seemed just as excited as a new homeowner.
Drawdy showed off the modern, stainless steel kitchen, especially a piece of equipment that makes it easier to transfer food from the kitchen right to the serving line.
Even the bathrooms are something to brag about. The tiles reach all the way to the ceiling. Dr. Drawdy said "All of the water area is located on the tile so we can clean and disinfect the entire wall if we need to. The students can come in here, wash their hands, even the sink is automatic".
There's another addition to the schools -- pods. Each grade level is assigned to a pod, or section. Each pod is self-contained with its own restroom and teacher work area.
Dr. Drawdy said "The pods basically have two doors that open out of each of the rooms. That way if you need to add room to a particular grade level because of crowding or because one grade is much larger than another grade. It's very adaptable".
Technology is also prevalent, including computer stations, lights that automatically turn on and off when you enter and leave the classroom, and cameras mounted throughout campus. Dr. Drawdy said "They just take pictures of the entire facility so you can see as many as 8 to 12 different pictures at different times".
While both Gorenflo and Nichols Elementary schools boast state-of-the-art technology, they also feature scenes from the past. For instance, you can check out the Imagination Stations, where a replica of the Pleasant Reed House and Ohr Museum will teach youngsters about Biloxi's heritage.
Dr. Drawdy says both schools should make Biloxi proud. He said "Biloxi is a city that's growing very large and we wanted to make sure that they had facilities that would carry them well into the 21st century. We believe we really basically achieved much of that goal".
Nichols can handle up to 400 students. Gorenflo can take about 600-students. Both schools cost about $20 million, funded by a bond issue passed by voters in 1999.