TUPELO – It’s only been a week since Tupelo schools let out for the summer, but the district has begun a race to get everything ready for the start of school in August.
On Wednesday, staff members started an eight-week marathon to shuffle textbooks, supplies, teaching materials and furniture between nearly 200 classrooms, among 11 campuses in preparation for an elementary-level reorganization.
Four moving crews will tackle more than 10,000 boxes and 23,000 textbooks.
“We’re taking it day by day,” said district facilities manager Julie Hinds, who is working with administrative assistant Bob Monroe to oversee the move.
The district will go from seven K-3 schools and three 4-6 schools to five K-2 schools, four 3-5 schools and one sixth-grade school.
The move will allow for more stable socioeconomic demographics and expand the 15-1 student-teacher ratio through third grade.
The district also is moving three kindergarten classrooms out of the Early Childhood Education Center at King School, where the district has Pre-K classes.
“This week the focus is on Carver, so we can start the construction,” Hinds said.
Carver’s front entrance is being expanded and renovated. Stairwells are getting new kid-safe railings. Hallways are getting magnetic-hold fire doors. D. Carroll Construction of Oxford is due to begin the project on Monday, Hinds said.
On Wednesday, moving crews were able to get all of the upper elementary classroom materials moved out of Carver, Hinds said. On Thursday, crews moved the administrative staff and K-2 classrooms from Thomas Street into their new home at Carver School.
Next week, the main focus will be on shifting office staff between Joyner and Rankin schools and moving the Pierce Street school office staff to Thomas Street school.
Then the movers will move teaching materials into individual classrooms, Hinds said.
But the work won’t stop when all the boxes are delivered, Hinds said.
Construction crews this week also will be renovating a building at Lawhon school, which has served as the kindergarten wing.
Floors have to be waxed, carpets cleaned and computers moved around. Media centers are currently being inventoried and books and materials will be moved later this summer. Schools also will be shuffling student furniture to match up with changing grade levels.
The district is anticipating adding 11 classrooms, primarily to accommodate the move to a 15-1 student-teacher ratio in second and third grades, said Superintendent Randy McCoy.
Although the district should have enough student furniture for those classrooms, they will have to buy additional teacher desks, classroom fixtures, teacher manuals and supplies, McCoy said.
The entire “Getting Ready for School” budget is an estimated $400,000, but it includes more than movers and packing supplies, McCoy said.
It covers furnishing the new classrooms with teacher resources, furniture and computers. It also includes new inventory software for the media centers and additional time for district staffers and media specialists who are working this summer to make the move happen.
“It’s not just the cost of moving furniture,” McCoy said. “It’s the whole package.”
Contact Michaela Gibson Morris at (662) 678-1599 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michaela Morris/NEMS Daily Journal