DeSoto Schools To Build, Rather Than Renovate

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(DeSoto County, MS) Mississippi’s largest school district keeps growing, but when the school board floated the idea of moving kids around to relieve overcrowding, parents didn’t like it one bit.

”There could be an issue with transportation and you know, getting kids back and forth to school,” said Robin Grills of Southaven.

The backlash was so severe, board members say they got the message.

”As far as I’m concerned, as long as I sit on the board there’ll be no lines moved. Because people didn’t like it when we tried to move ‘em,” said DeSoto School Board Chairperson Ann Jolley.

So school leaders came up with a plan to build a new career center in Horn Lake and use the existing vocational space classrooms.

Then the board got the price tag, and learned it’s cheaper to build new.

What’s the cost difference?

Renovating the vo-tech center to current building codes would cost $200 a square foot. Building new? That would only cost $125 a square foot.

So board members voted to build a new wing onto Southaven High School.

They stress the old vocational center won’t sit empty.

”We’ll do something with that building. You know, it’ll be used,” Jolley promised.

Some parents wondered about turning industrial areas into classrooms, and say new is better.

”I agree. They ought to build onto the schools. There’s enough room for it, so building on is the best option” said Grills.

Twenty-four new classrooms should be ready sometime next year.