Harrison County School District completes North Gulfport school expansion

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Harrison County School District has finished one of its big projects ahead of the 2021-2022 school year, the North Gulfport Middle School expansion and renovation. The middle school is now an elementary as well. Tuesday, school administrators and city leaders got a sneak peek of what students will experience next week.

“We’re moving the elementary back to their neighborhoods, so to speak,” said Superintendent Mitchell King. “That will help with the transportation, the time. Students can get back and forth if they have problems at home. If parents need to check on their children, it’s going to help in that respect.”

Teachers and students from Lyman, Harrison Central and Orange Grove elementary schools will now reside at North Gulfport. Those teachers are now getting settled in their new space before the first day of school.

“I am coming from Harrison Central Elementary School,” said first-grade teacher Elvretis Wash. “It’s so wonderful. The classrooms are so nice and fresh and new and I’m just so excited to start the new school year.”

Wash is hopeful this school year is nothing like last year.

“COVID has been a challenge,” said Wash.

It was a challenge many teachers like Wash and Tessa Ayers are ready to tackle, all to see their students excel in the classroom.

“I like having my students in my classroom every day because it’s better for them,” said Ayers. “They can learn better, and I just like seeing their sweet smiling faces walk through my door every morning.”

More than $7 million went into new classrooms, front office space, and even a gymnasium.

“This was a pretty big transformation for the campus,” said the district’s architect Marty Hardy. “We added a brand new main entrance admin office, covered drop-off, teacher’s offices and principal offices. Also, a brand new gymnasium, which we’re standing in right now. New kindergarten classrooms where we added four on, and every wing got new bathrooms.”

Wash said this expansion will add more class time while decreasing the students’ everyday commute.

“It’s easier for education,” said Wash. “We get more instructional time. The transportation is less now, so they’re able to get to school quicker and we can start the learning process.”

Though classrooms and halls are empty now, teachers are ready to see them overflow with students in the coming days.

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