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Stone County School District has big plans for approved school bond

District’s fifth graders likely to be first students at new high school
It’s the district’s first bond issue since 1996. The money will be used to build a new Stone High School and athletic stadium.
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 5:49 PM CDT
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WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) - On Wednesday, WLOX met with Stone County School District Superintendent Inita Owen to discuss the passing of the school bond.

The $19.75 million bond was approved by a 65% vote Tuesday night.

It’s the district’s first bond issue since 1996.

The money will be used to build a new Stone High School and athletic stadium.

The current Stone High School is 64 years old, and according to Owen, faces air conditioning, heating, plumbing, drainage and electrical issues from day to day.

“We do really great things. Our students achieve very well. We’re ranked very high in the state,” she said. “We just don’t feel like our exterior matches our interior.”

The facility will sit on about 85 acres of land located behind Venture Church.

40 acres were donated by local businessmen Wynn Alexander and Dan O’Neal, and the school district purchased the additional 45 acres.

The nearby water tower will soon be painted with Tomcats.

“It’ll be our first athletic stadium,” Owen said. “We’ve always used the junior college’s. They’ve been great hosts, but it’s time for us to have ownership and pride in our own.”

Some voters against the bond issue voiced concern over the resulting tax increase.

For a $100,000 home, owners will soon see an increase of about $120 per year.

“It was a big, big deal for a lot of people because, you know, times are hard right now,” she said.

District officials aim to have the new facility ready for move-in within three academic years.

“If my calculations are right, this year’s fifth graders will probably be the first ninth-graders in that high school,” Owen said. “Their parents know about it. Our teachers know about it. A lot of adults know about it. But now, it’s filtering down to the kids like, ‘Hey, something big’s fixing to happen,’ and they’re really excited about it, too.”

Owen said she plans to get the ball rolling right away and will meet with the architect and bond attorney early next week.

“I’d just like to say thank you to our community. You always, you always come through. And you came through big time, and we won’t let you down,” she said.

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