SOUTHAVEN, Miss. -- The clock is ticking at Southaven High School as workers rush to finish construction of the school’s new ninth grade academy building.
Everyone says they're confident it will open Thursday morning, but some worry they’re cutting it close.
DeSoto County school leaders cut the ribbon on the district’s first ninth grade academy one day before the start of school.
Students say they’re looking forward to the change.
”It also clears out the hallways at the high school so we’re not bumping into each other and starting more fights and stuff like that,” said Claire Allen.
But take a look around and you’ll see there’s a lot of work to be done before classes start Thursday morning.
Even so, Southaven High’s principal says he’ll have the halls cleared and construction crews out.
”We’re gonna be ready for students on the first day. We may be here till midnight getting it ready, but students will be welcomed in the building at 8:25 in the morning,” Shane Jones said.
The plan is to have construction workers work all night to get the job done.
District leaders admit some of the smaller things might still need work, but classrooms will be ready.
”We’ve moved in our houses and later we had to fix this, fix that,” said DeSoto School Superintendent Milton Kuykendall.
Lately, ninth grade-only schools have become all the rage in education.
You might call the trend of ninth grade academies “back to the future”. Years ago, ninth-graders weren’t even considered high school students. They went to junior high.
School leaders say it helps ease the transition to high school.
”Most of the children that drop out of school had trouble in the ninth grade, couldn’t pass ninth grade. We’re gonna specialize in ninth-graders and try to help these kids get through school,” said Kuykendall.
But for now, it’s a race against time, as construction and landscape workers struggle to beat the clock before Thursday morning’s bell time.