Improvements in Pearl River Central School District will include growing pains

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 4, 2018

Construction of new classrooms and facilities within the Pearl River County School District in early 2019, will bring potential challenges to students, parents and faculty as they take place during the school year.

Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said construction will include the addition of 24 new classrooms at the McNeill campus, 18 classrooms at the Carriere campus, expansion of the elementary school cafeteria and kitchen, construction of a new library at the middle school, renovation of a library at the high school and elementary schools and construction of a multipurpose 1,000 ft. auditorium with three performing arts classrooms at the Carriere campus.

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Lumpkin said plans are being finalized and will be presented for review next month. He said the plans will hopefully go up for bid in October or November with a bid being accepted in December. If everything goes as planned, Lumpkin said construction should begin at the beginning of 2019. According to architectural plans, construction should be complete in two to three years once it starts.

All of the District’s current buildings will be kept in tact and the new buildings will simply be adding to what is currently in place. The only building that will be demolished is a small administrative building on the McNeill campus that was deemed unsafe, Lumpkin said.

Since construction is beginning halfway through the school year, a few difficulties may arise, Lumpkin said. As work is being done, students may need to take alternate routes to classes and bus drop-off locations might be changed, he said. Also, parents who bring their children to school in a personal vehicle may be rerouted or traffic might back up on campus. He said that while it is difficult to anticipate some things, they are trying to be as proactive as possible to minimize inconveniences.

Lumpkin said traffic during construction will probably be similar to the first week of school, a situation that creates back ups until students and parents find a good schedule and balance. Lumpkin said he expects to see similar traffic situations while construction is underway.

Within the classrooms, Lumpkin said he does not foresee the construction causing issues with class instruction. He said every step is being taken to decrease distraction levels.

“We would like to ask our community, parents and staff to be patient and understanding. Construction is exciting, but we will also have to be flexible. Everyday procedures will have to be changed and it will be challenging at times. In the long run, the end result will be a tribute to all the hardworking citizens in our community,” Lumpkin said.