GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - When George County voters passed a $7 million bond issue to pay for school upgrades and expansions, the district had big dreams for that money. Two years later, those improvements are a reality. The changes will increase space, safety and access to technology.
Wade Whitney proudly showed off four new computer labs at George County High School. The labs come with retractable doors that serve a dual purpose.
"One of the things that's interesting, not only are they retractable, but they're used as whiteboards," Whitney explained.
He is excited about these additions, because he is about to start his first year as the principal of the high school.
"One of the reasons I was able to come here is because, or felt like I wanted to come here is because all the opportunities we have on this campus," said Whitney.
Those opportunities include new, state of the art welding and construction labs so students won't have to use the labs at the community college. Drama and show choir students also have their own building for classes and performances, and the campus recently installed new security features at both entrances.
"You can't get into the school itself without going through two sets of doors. Both sets of those doors are bulletproof, and they're made specifically for increased safety," said Whitney.
You can see safety upgrades and other changes at all eight schools in the George County School District.
"One of them was to add additional space to our campuses. We were overflowing with students, and we needed additional space for those students. Also, our technology infrastructure really needed an overhaul. We worked tirelessly for that. Then, we also wanted to address safety and security issues," said George County School District Superintendent Debbie Harrell.
For instance, Central Elementary expanded its cafeteria, created a more prominent entrance and added an academic wing. All of these improvements were funded by a $7 million bond issue that voters passed in 2013.
"We're very excited and we're very amazed that we were able to do as much as we did. Our students are going to have these opportunities that they did not have before," said Harrell.
"Everything that's here is either to secure students and they're able to achieve, providing them resources to be successful, and those were very, very attractive to me," said Whitney.
For technology upgrades, the district replaced all the wiring, routers, servers and switches to increase the speed and storage. It also added more than 1,000 computers. One of the final steps is to upgrade and install wireless access points in all the county schools.