It's hard not to miss a big, bright building going up in the middle of nowhere. What a transformation. Just three months ago, the Diocese of Biloxi broke ground on the new St. Patrick Catholic High School on Highway 67.
"Absolutely excited about the progress," says Diocese of Biloxi Education Superintendent Dr. Mike Ladner. "They're working great guns to make things happen. They're working long hours as well, and they're pretty much on schedule right now."
The yellow building will house 34-classrooms and offices. The structure behind it will become the gym, cafeteria and auditorium. St. Patrick is the first school to go up since Katrina, and the first school to be built using funding from FEMA.
The school is designed to hold up to 600 students. On January 19th, the school will launch an application process to find out how many students will register. The superintendent says don't be surprised if some students end up on the waiting list. Students from Mercy Cross, St. John and seven other feeder elementary schools are expected to attend.
"Just a huge interest in a new facility and just the good things we're doing in the Catholic schools. We're expecting to be packed at the very beginning," says Dr. Ladner. "Of course, we didn't anticipate this big interest at this point right now."
A lot of anticipation surrounding a new $21 million school, a different identity, and the future home of the "Fighting Irish".
"Oh, it's going to be great! We're real excited about getting into the new school," says Dr. Ladner. "We feel like growth in Catholic education in the Diocese of Biloxi will certainly take off."
Another issue the school is working on is tuition. The superintendent says it will be slightly higher that what St. John and Mercy Cross students are paying now.
The school is also hiring teachers and filling other positions for the new school. A special web site is in the process of being set up, with information just about St. Patrick.