JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The ribbon has finally been cut on a brand new school in Jackson County after having students in its halls for almost a month. East Central Middle School opened its doors Monday evening for parents and students to get a good look at the state of the art facility.
After three years of planning and construction, the brand new $8 million East Central Middle School opened its doors for its first open house. Superintendent, Dr. Barry Amacker, said this was something that the school district has desperately needed.
"The biggest thing we face right now is enrollment," said Amacker.
Amacker said the district is already 1000 students above what the enrollment numbers were before Hurricane Katrina. To accommodate those numbers, the students have been shifting around the campuses between outdated buildings and temporary structures. Now, 7th and 8th graders will fill the new classrooms.
"Of course, we know about, you know, trying to improve buildings. But the bottom line is, what does it mean to the children, and they love it," said Amacker.
He said attending the new school gives the students a sense of pride. But, it wasn't just the kids getting excited about walking these new halls.
"I'm thrilled to have the new building. Of course, I teach 8th grade, so I was very excited that my current students could have the opportunity to move into the new building before the end of the year," said Penny Dearman.
She has been teaching in the district for 13 years. Dearman said this building has become a new focal point for the community.
"It's a beautiful building, why would you not be excited?" said Dearman.
Around 500 students are currently attending the new middle school. Plans include eventually adding another wing and bringing the 6th graders into the new facility.