George County schools prepare for makeover

LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - It was back to school for more than 4,000 students and teachers in the George County School District.  Soon, staff and students will see both major and minor changes at every county school.

The district passed a 20 year bond of $7 million earlier this year to pay for upgrades.  A large portion of the work will take place at Central Elementary.

Betty Pitts' class at Central Elementary is excited and eager to start their first day of school. They're also ready for this old and overcrowded campus to get a makeover.

"It is going to look better. It is going to feel better, and the students are going to do real well," said Pitts.

The superintendent said the $7 million will pay for vocational programs, safety, and technology improvements at each school in the district. Around $2 million will be invested at the elementary school, starting with the expansion of a small cafeteria.

"Right now, students begin lunch at 10:40 in the morning, so we are hoping to close that window a little bit and allow them to have lunch later in the day. The extra space will allow them to do that. We will also be adding some classrooms to replace some of the portable buildings we have here," said Debbie Harrell, district superintendent.

This is good news to the principal.  She said the school will also be enclosed to give staff more control over the access points on campus.

"We are going to build a fence by the gym across the here and connect it to the main entrance here," Principal Donna Dixon said. "As you can see, we don't have a main entrance here. It is kind of spread out. We have buildings here, a building here, and a cafeteria here. What the bond issue and upgrades are going to do is connect all of the buildings together and keep the children in. See these children having to go outside to be able to go to their next activity."

Construction on this project is set to start before the end of the year. The kids and teachers will see the changes the following school year.

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