By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Students returning to Tupelo High School this fall will find modern study rooms, a computer help desk and a more centrally located counseling center.
The renovations at the school are among a handful of construction projects planned across the district this summer.
The school district will use the months when students are gone to expand some buildings, replace older infrastructure and beautify its campuses.
Work already has begun on one of those projects. Workers are building a new maintenance building on the Tupelo High School campus near the parking lot closest to Cliff Gooken Boulevard.
Other projects will begin over the next couple of weeks.
The biggest of those projects is a face-lift of several buildings on the THS campus.
It will add classrooms in the freshman building and renovate the technology building (J building) to include modern study rooms and offices of administrators and counselors.
The old administrative building (C building) will be transformed into a new art building.
Other unrelated projects include landscape work at the high school, a new entranceway at Rankin Elementary and refurbished windows at Church Street Elementary.
Work on the big project at the high school is scheduled to begin May 22.
Four classrooms and two art classrooms will be created in the freshman building (H building) by reworking current space.
The art rooms, which will allow freshmen to stay in that building for art classes, will be put in the downstairs common area.
Tupelo has 550 freshmen this year and 505 eighth-graders, according to an April enrollment count.
The J building will become a hub for many student services.
Its bottom floor will include a computer help desk, a commons area where students can study and study rooms that can be reserved by students or teachers.
Those study rooms will have walls with floor-to-ceiling marker boards that groups can use to make notes and glass walls allowing faculty to easily monitor the rooms.
“It will be a very flexible learning space,” said Tupelo Director of Operations Julie Hinds.
The computer help desk will likely have several student workers who will be able to troubleshoot many of the minor problems that arise with the laptops all students at the school will be given next year.
“Kids can come in during the day and get help,” said Tupelo Technology Director Brenda Meriweather. “If there is anything they can’t handle, they can call us.”
Students will have easier access to counselors since they will now be located closer to the cafeteria and to common study areas, Hinds said.
The lobby of the building will have a gallery to display student art work, and the upstairs classrooms will be renovated.
Those classrooms will include Promethean Boards, spaces for small groups to meet and tables that allow for flexible setups.
“They will be 21st century classrooms,” Hinds said.
The new art building will have three lecture rooms, a large studio and a smaller studio.
The $2.5 million project will paid for from Qualified School Construction Bond money, a low-interest loan the school already has received.
The maintenance facility currently under construction is a separate project.
The 7,500-square-foot building will give the maintenance department a shop where it can work and a place to store equipment.
Much of that equipment is now stored under the bleachers at the football field.
The district also will do some landscaping work outside the school, including new signs, additional trees and shrubs and visitor parking spaces near the J building.
Meanwhile, the Rankin project will include a red brick tower and covered walkway in front of the school.
Workers also will replace several windows and improve the school’s drainage system.
The work at Church Street will refurbish older windows. That project will be complicated because the school is a historic building and repairs must follow the guidelines of the Mississippi Department of History and Archives.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Crews will be busy with several projects
at Tupelo Schools this summer :
– THS maintenance building – Includes
shop for maintenance department to work
and place to store equipment. Work has al-
ready begun by Southland Construction.
Cost: $249,300 to be paid with local money.
– THS renovations – Includes new class-
rooms in the freshman building, a renova-
tion of the technology building and the
transformation of the old administration
building into a new art building. JESCO will
begin working on the project on May 22 and
it must be ready for a walk-through by July
21. The $2.515 million project will be paid
for from money the district has received
from Qualified School Construction Bonds.
– Landscaping at THS – Will take place
during the summer. Work hasn’t yet been
put out for bid.
– Rankin entrance – Includes construc-
tion of a tower, improvement of the
drainage system and installation of energy
efficient windows. Sanderson Construction
will begin work June 1 with a completion
date of July 30. The $249,800 cost will be
paid with local money.
– Church Street windows – Involves re-
furbishing of older windows. Century Con-
struction will begin June 1 with a comple-
tion date of July 30. The $327,000 cost will
be paid with local money.