Ocean Springs Cultural Center Achieves Milestone

Volunteers trying to renovated an 80-year-old school credit a hard working, generous Ocean Springs community with taking them from devastation to elation.

The future of the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center is looking good now but that wasn't the case back in March.

Volunteers say their hearts sank after learning the center had been turned down for a much needed grant.

Betty Magee is president of "Friends of Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center".

Her artistic eye allows her to see the building not as it is but as it could be.

Now Magee can leave less to her imagination.

On Tuesday, volunteers unveiled how far hard labor and dedication can go in breathing new life into an old school.

The room is not only beautiful but also symbolic. It's the first classroom to be completely renovated.

"It was overwhelming," said Magee. "We've been at this going over five years."

People with passions from pottery to woodcarving to music will find a place at the Mary C. O'Keefe.

As of this week all 13 classrooms have sponsors to help pay for their renovations. It was welcome news for a project that has had more than its share of tough times.

"Every time a door closed and we were down, it was as if God opened one on the side and said come this way," said Magee.

The help came in the way of people donating their money and hard labor.

With the completion of the first room the generous people of Ocean Springs can finally get a glimpse of the beautiful artistic treasure that's waiting to take shape.

The next part of the Mary C. O'Keefe on line for completion is the city museum which will feature 300 years of Ocean Springs history.

Officials expect that work to be done in about four months.