Luvern Gines used to work in the cafeteria at Nichols Jr. High. Three generations of her family were educated at the school, and then it was torn down.
Luvern Gines said "I had lost a part of my family, that's just how I felt. Part of my heart was gone. Now, it gives me a great pleasure to have hope that something great is going to happen again in this community".
What Gines can count on, is what will be a new Nichols Elementary School. On Tuesday, Biloxi school leaders broke ground at the Nichols site. Those who helped push through a bond issue in 1999 to help pay for the new building also had a hand in the celebration.
School Board Member Rick Stewart said "This community made a strong statement when we approved a bond issue several years ago, that they wanted a school at this site. Today I think was historic, and we look forward to building a school that the community will be proud of".
Biloxi school leaders are also optimistic the community will embrace the new Gorenflo Elementary School. During the groundbreaking ceremony, they say Biloxi will have state-of-the art buildings to match its excellent education standards.
School Superintendent Dr. Larry Drawdy said "Children need to be exposed to updated and modern facilities. This marks the final chapter in our 1999 bond issue. We think it's very fitting for our communities, because when we complete these two new schools at Nichols and Gorenflo, all of our schools will be renovated with brand, new facilities in all of them".
Both schools will cost a total of about $18 million to build. The first bids came in too high, so the school district is seeking new bids. Officials hope to start construction by the end of the year, and have both buildings ready for classes by August of 2004.