Please note that this post contains affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward MageeNews.com a small commission – at no extra cost to you.
Simpson County Schools are seeing facelifts at many campuses. These improvements were made possible through Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER), which the district and school board refer to as ESSER funds. The funding became available from the government during COVID-19. Specific guidelines and instructions on how the money can be used were given.
The board recognized improvements needed at Simpson Central and Mendenhall High School and Elementary due to previous facilities studies.
Simpson Central is receiving new buildings, gym improvements, cafeteria, and fencing. The gym will receive a new entrance.
The present entrance divides the dressing room of the students. Simpson Central will become a secured campus with fencing.
Mendenhall High School is receiving a new and larger cafeteria/cafetorium to accommodate the students. A cafetorium is a cafeteria and auditorium media building combined.
A new 5th grade building is being added at Mendenhall Elementary. Two condemned buildings were demolished allowing space for the new 5th grade building.
An additional parking area along with an optional outdoor classroom will be included in the 5th grade project.
All the renovations and improvements are being conducted without any cost to district funds.
After all ESSER Funds have been appropriated, the board is faced with addressing the remaining improvements needed at the other campuses. The board refinanced a millage note at a cheaper interest rate which freed up approximately $6,000,000 dollars. With available funds the board was able to consolidate the two high schools; and therefore, build a new school. Mendenhall Junior High, which is in the worse condition, would move to Mendenhall High School allowing students to attend school in a newer and improved condition area. Magee Middle School will move to the high school. Certain buildings will be demolished.
The board inherited conditions that needed improving years ago.These issues cannot handle a band aid fix. The buildings need a substantial amount of work. The cost to repair, rebuild and correct are pricy. The school board felt the best option was to consolidate and stretch the funds to cover more. The board voted to consolidate. The board has the funds to build the consolidated high school with district funds that are available. The funds will only build a high school.
We must not loose sight of the vision for our children to have the best education and facilities possible. To keep students from traveling to adjoining cities for sports, a bond issue is needed to build athletic facilities on the campus.The decision is left up to the public. If a bond is not passed, the school will be built. Athletics will take place on other campuses. The school board will eventually have all athletic facilities at the campus requiring a yearly millage increases to build the facilities. The bond issue will raise taxes for a set number of years and then fall off. Millage increase, which the board can do each year by 4 mills, will stay on the tax role and not fall off. The board can raise taxes each year for 4 years. This could cost taxpayers more money in the end.
Look at the final picture, major improvements have been approved and are in the process of reality at each campus. A consolidated high school is being built. The bond issue will help the students have a great educational opportunity from K-12 and a school district to be proud of.
The new facility will house a new school 9-12th grade, band hall, gym, cafeteria/caftetorium, football stadium with soccer and track, baseball and softball stadiums, tennis courts and practice fields along with the possibility of an ARTS building. The band hall and gym are located within the structure of the school.
These major improvements would not have been possible without the federal funds received during the pandemic allowing no disturbance of district funds.
A bond of $39,000,000 could have NEVER paid for this many improvements and build a school.
1 new Cafeteria
Cafetorium with auditorium stage and media
5th grade building
New buildings at Simpson Central
Old Condemned Buildings demolished (2)
New Consolidated High School and athletic facilities
All for the cost to the public $39,000,000.