Biloxi School District to unveil design for new junior high school

Published: Feb. 15, 2016 at 11:21 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2016 at 10:55 AM CST
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Tuesday night, the public will get to see what the new Biloxi Junior High School will look like.The architect is putting the finishing touches on the designs and the company will unveil the plans during the Biloxi School Board meeting. The superintendent said the new school will have a "wow factor."

You can see plenty of heavy equipment and hear a lot of pounding. Land is being cleared off Jam Lane to make way for a new Biloxi Junior High School.

"They're thinking about they're about 35 percent done with the initial dirt work. Hopefully in March, start the process of the actual construction of the building," said Biloxi Schools Superintendent Arthur McMillan.

McMillan said the new school will help the district deal with a growing enrollment.

"If you're looking at our enrollment over the last five years, we've grown approximately 1,000 students and then if you look at K-2, we're looking at an average probably around 530 students," he said.

The new school can house up to 1,200 students. It will have 52-classrooms, with separate wings for seventh and eighth graders.The two-story building will go up on 15-acres right next to the high school.

"If you look at our high school, it's going to have the same 'wow factor' that going into our high school is what I would envision," said McMillan.

And having the junior high and high school side by side will mean more efficient transportation services and allow teachers to easily move from one campus to the other.

"An example would be if the band director, instead of having all that wasted time, we have to share teachers or staff, they'll be there right beside each other," said McMillan.

"It's going to be nice. I'm very excited," said Kassie Bourque.

The Biloxi mom also likes the convenience of moving the junior high closer to the high school. Her son, Gavin, is a first grader in Biloxi.

"With sports and everything, they're right there by the sports facilities. They can use them. It's great to have a new facility. It's been awhile since facilities have been built in the district, so I'm very excited to know that he can attend a new building," said Bourque.

"I think it's a lot of pride, show a lot of pride in our school," said McMillan.

The new Biloxi Junior High is slated to open in August of 2017. It will cost about $34-million. District leaders say the project will not involve a tax increase, because an existing debt for three school projects will expire in a few years. The funds will be used to finance the new junior high school.

When the new school opens, the current junior high campus will become an upper elementary for fifth and sixth graders.

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