HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The new River Oaks Elementary School in Harrison County is set to open a month from now. The contractor plans to turn over the building to the school district at the end of this week. The superintendent said this school construction project is just the beginning.
Outside, crews are paving the parking lot. Inside, counters, cabinets and kitchen equipment are being installed.
Marty Hardy is the architect for the new River Oaks Elementary School. The $13 million project has been under construction for nearly two years.
"It's beautiful. Right now we are, I would have to say, about 90 to 95 percent complete," said Hardy.
The campus was designed with unique features like sheet rock furring that drops down from the ceiling to diffuse sound in the cafeteria, high ceilings and plenty of windows.
"It adds a lot of natural light in, and it extends from the administration wing all the way to the library. It really adds a nice feature, a nice touch," said Hardy. "I think the teachers will like it. We put nice wide hallways in, because they like for the kids to walk along the walls and keep the center open."
There are two academic wings in the middle of the building. One side is for kindergarten through third grades. The other side is for the fourth through sixth grades.
"It's nice to see the building. It's a beautiful building. It's going to be real nice for the students," said Harrison County Schools Superintendent Henry Arledge.
About 600 students will be attending the new River Oaks Elementary School. It was built to help relieve overcrowding at Bel-Aire, Three Rivers and Woolmarket Elementary Schools.
While district leaders are waiting for the school to open, they're already making plans to build two more elementary schools in the near future.
"North of D'Iberville is still growing, and West Wortham is bursting at the seams. We're going to have to do something there in the next few years to try to get that under control," said Arledge.
For now, the focus is on making sure River Oaks is ready for the first day of school on August 7.
"We're waiting for the public to come in, because I think they're going to be excited," said Hardy.
"We're very proud of the elementary school that we built, and we look forward to moving in. We think it'll be great," said Arledge.
River Oaks Elementary is located on Three Rivers Road. The district will hold a ribbon cutting for the new school on August 3, at 2 p.m. Dr. Shelly Holmes will be the school principal.