Gulfport School Board Approves New Campus Design

"This is the property. Hopefully, the future home of the new 28th Street Elementary School," said Gulfport School Superintendent Glen East, as he pointed to some wooded land on 46th Avenue.

The ten-acre property is just 12 blocks west of the old 28th Street Elementary. East believes it's the perfect place to build a new school.

"This property is dead center of the school zone," East said. "There's growth to the west of us. There's growth on the Seabee base."

The Gulfport School Board recently approved the final design, which displays the district's vision for the new $12-million campus.

"It's just a good laid-out design that really is student-friendly and parent-friendly," East said. "This makes the whole school a community. Everybody's enclosed in the same building."

The building can house up to 600-students. Each grade level is separated by pods. East says the designs are ready and financing is in place. However, because of wetlands concerns, the district still needs approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.

"We are continuing to move forward," East said. "It has been slower than I would like for it to be.  But everybody's doing the job they need to do to make sure we get the environment, and what's best for the children."

Ever since Katrina severely damaged the old 28th St. Elementary School, the children have been scattered. Some are attending classes at Gaston Point Elementary. Others are sharing space at Central Elementary. The superintendent says he can't wait for the day when he can bring those children back to their neighborhood.

"It's going to make my day when we can walk in and open the door and have a place they can call their own home," East said. "So I'm very eager, very excited about it."

The Gulfport School District has no long-range plans for the old 28th Street Elementary campus.   The district is currently leasing part of the school to the Gulfport Police Department and city court.

By: Trang Pham-Bui