Hancock Co. school could be first "green" school to open in MS

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - After running six months behind schedule, the new Hancock North Central Elementary School should open its doors this Fall. There's a lot of excitement surrounding the $14 million school. That's because it could become the first K-12 school in Mississippi to go completely green.

The excitement is building as construction on the new Hancock North Central Elementary School enters its final months.

"Can't wait to see it open. I know the community is excited, and a lot of talk about the new school," said Hancock County Schools Superintendent Alan Dedeaux.

The school is also generating a lot of interest across Mississippi.

"We are the first LEED school in the state of Mississippi. We've been getting a lot of calls from other places and questions about what it takes to be a LEED school," said Dedeaux.

LEED stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design". The entire project is energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It started when the old school was torn down in 2011. The asbestos removal had to be documented and the concrete, bricks, and wiring had to be salvaged.

"One of the main things was to make sure that those items didn't go into a landfill," said Dedeaux.

The materials used to build the new school came from renewable products. Plus, the building features plenty of natural lighting, windows, and motion-sensored lights, which should mean lower power bills. Dedeaux sees another advantage of going green.

"The school hasn't even opened and our students have already reaped some of the benefits from some grants, because we're going to be a LEED school," said Dedeaux.

Dedeaux said the school was supposed to be finished last Christmas, but there were delays in getting some of the materials in, along with weather problems. The district is now aiming for an August opening.

"I can't wait to see a bunch of smiling young faces in those classrooms and in those hallways. I'm looking forward to it myself," said Dedeaux.

The LEED certification won't be official until the construction is complete and the school undergoes a review. The school also received a $2 million grant to fortify the building so it can be used as an emergency storm shelter.

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