Superintendent unveils early designs for new Ocean Springs High School

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -- Ocean Springs High school has only one gym, but there are nine teams competing to use the same space.

"I definitely think we need two gyms," said the school's athletic director.

School district leaders are working on a game plan to build bigger athletic facilities. On Wednesday, they unveiled their early designs for the new Ocean Springs High School.

"We've downsized certain aspects of the project," said Ocean Springs School Superintendent Robert Hirsch, as he looked over the renderings.

The school's athletic director Mark Hubbard knows what additions he would like to make in his department.

"One, two, or three practice fields, soccer field, a 9th grade football field, and maybe a band practice field," he said.

These fields of dream could become a reality, now that Ocean Springs voters have passed a $37 million bond issue. The school district will pitch in another $11 million to build a high school the community will be proud of.

"We have a facility that is covered by academic classrooms.  And within inside there we have a courtyard with an outdoor stage, and an open eating area that goes into our cafeteria," said principal David Baggett.

Drama, band, and choir classes, now scattered across the old campus, will be together in a huge fine arts facility. The auditorium will be larger to accommodate school wide assemblies and concerts. The two-story school building will be big enough to hold up to 2,200 students.

"We're going to add an additional eleven classrooms.  We're going to build big enough to cover the next 20-30 years, anticipating the growth," said Baggett.

School leaders and the architect have toured high schools in Biloxi, Brandon, and Clinton, MS.  They even visited schools in Mobile and Pensacola to get ideas for the campus layout.

"It's a great time in the history of the town, and also the history of the school district," said Hirsch. "So a great plan. Wonderful plan."

Once the plans are finalized, the district hopes to break ground in about eight months.  If all goes well, the school is expected to open at the end of 2011.

Another issue the school district is dealing with is where to build the new high school. The district owns two pieces of land near Highway 57 in east Ocean Springs. But most of the property is wetlands. So the district is applying to the Army Corps of Engineers, seeking its approval of the project.