BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - After closing as an elementary school five years ago, Nichols welcomed grade school children back to its East Biloxi campus this year.
When Nichols closed back in 2010, the students, teachers and staff moved to nearby Gorenflo Elementary. Monday, it opened again, operating as an elementary school housing preschoolers, kindergartners and first graders.
Five years ago, Biloxi leaders closed Nichols and three other campuses due to low enrollment and a loss in state education funding. Many people in the community held rallies and even filed a lawsuit pushing the district to re-open Nichols.
The former principal and several teachers are now back at this East Biloxi campus.
"When I came through the doors, I was excited. I really was. I still am," said teacher Celeste Adkins. "New start, new class for me, new grade level. It is apprehensive, but it's mixed with excitement. The students are ready to learn, and we're ready to teach."
Principal Melissa Nance says she is glad to return.
"It's like we're home. It was great," said Nance. "It is just an awesome feeling. It really is. We are just super excited about the school year. We have an early childhood focus, and we are just really expecting some great things this year."
Nichols expects to have about 300 students once the pre-k school children start classes this Thursday.