Wesson gets more help on school plan

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 17, 2001

WESSON — Another large grant has been awarded to the Old WessonSchool restoration project, bringing the project closer to areality.

The Mississippi Department of History and Archives informedMayor Bill Tigner last week that the project will receive a$340,000 grant soon, increasing the total funds to more than half amillion dollars.

“Since we announced the plan in August to restore the oldschool, we have gotten $590,000 to start working with,” Tignersaid, mentioning the $250,000 grant awarded last month by the SmallMunicipalities and Limited Population County Program.

Tigner was thankful for the support the town has received fromlegislators, residents and government officials.

“There were several people who were instrumental in securingthis grant,” he said, commending the efforts of Rep. Jim Barnett,Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and Rep. Bobby Moak.

He believes their assistance helped the Old Wesson Schoolproject in competition with 63 other projects applying for the $6million available.

The Old Wesson School received the second highest grant in thestate awarded by the Mississippi Department of History and Archiveslast week.

Tigner believes the two significant grants the project wasawarded have made a big impact in the fundraising efforts, whichwill continue for at least another year.

“I’m just amazed what we’ve been able to do in such a shortamount of time,” he said. “It just shows what even a smallcommunity like Wesson can accomplish when you pull together.”

He hopes to have secured all of the funds, which total almost$3.5 million, by December 2002.

Earlier this week, Tigner spoke with Morgan Shands, executivedirector of the St. Ambrose Leadership School that will be locatedin the Old Wesson School upon completion.

“We’ve planned a trip to Washington next month,” he said. “We’vegot meetings lined up with our congressmen and senators to beginthe search for federal appropriations.”

The Old Wesson School restoration project will take acombination of federal and private funds, Tigner pointed out.

The contract for the total renovation of the school will beawarded to an architect next week, Tigner said, mentioning thatseveral prospects have been interviewed.

Another ongoing community improvement project is Wesson becominga part of the Mississippi Main Street Association. A meeting isplanned for 7 p.m., Tuesday at town hall for work on the MainStreet plans.

“I want to encourage everyone to come and assist in the MainStreet Workshop,” Tigner said.

Some of the work will be deciding what areas will be included inthe improvement plans, the age of some buildings and the currentstatus of buildings in town.