Schools plan to reopen two years post-Katrina

Published 4:37 pm Friday, August 3, 2007

Beach Elementary School is to resume classes next week, almost two years after Hurricane Katrina heavily damaged the building and the surrounding neighborhood.

“The neighborhood is very excited about us being back also,” school principal Shirley Hunter said Wednesday. “What can I say? It’s great to be home.”

The school has been closed since the Aug. 29, 2005 hurricane, and has been undergoing renovations since the beginning of the year.

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Hunter said the school had been temporarily sharing a building at Central Elementary School.

“The students are resilient. It doesn’t matter where you put the students. They are going to be excited about coming to school anyway,” schools superintendent Wayne Rodolfich said. “The more comfortable we can make them, the harder we are going to try to do that.”

Gautier Elementary School, which also sustained damage from the storm, is expected to reopen in mid-September.

Rodolfich and other administrative personnel toured Beach Elementary on Wednesday, while teachers and parents readied rooms for 128 kindergarten, first- and second-grade students.

Pascagoula schools open Monday.

Total repairs to both Beach and Gautier elementaries were over $3 million, with the majority paid by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Rodolfich said.

The Pascagoula School District paid nearly $1 million in repairs.