Gulfport hosts town hall meeting to discuss new high school

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On Tuesday, residents in Gulfport will be voting on whether or not to pass a multimillion dollar bond to build a new Gulfport High School. Thursday night, faculty, parents and community supporters listened attentively as Gulfport School District Athletic Director Bryan Caldwell gave a short presentation on the need to update facilities at Gulfport High School.

"I think that we have made due with an outdated facility for a long time and that our students in Gulfport deserve the same quality the surrounding communities have," said Caldwell.

During his presentation, Caldwell compared Gulfport high to many of the newer, nicer schools across the coast. He also discussed the safety factor. Right now, Gulfport High School has 74 different places to enter and exit, something he feels compromises safety.

"One that is as open as ours is, one that was designed in the 60s, in a different era, makes things a little difficult," said Caldwell.

The new design would have only four entry and exit points, along with an outdoor auditorium, updated science labs and a very modern facade.

"I believe we're at a competitive disadvantage to the other school districts from a facilities standpoint," said parent, Dave Estorge.

The idea to build a new high school has gotten little opposition, but those who are opposed are mostly concerned about tax increases.

"I understand that people have concerns about tax increases, so do I for that matter. I just feel like this is more of an investment in our kids than it is a tax increase," said Caldwell.

The bond people will be voting on is for more than $41 million. Caldwell says the Gulfport School Board of Trustees voted to make it a 20 year bond. That means if the bill passes, homeowners in the designated area will be paying an additional tax for the next 20 years.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.