New BHS building represents community dream

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, April 2, 2002

District officials beamed this week as they celebrated thededication of the new Brookhaven High School building.

“The dedication of Brookhaven High School is a day we’veanticipated for so long,” said Superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds. “Thecompletion of this structure represents the dreams of an entirecommunity.”

More than 300 people filled the new media center in the eastwing of the building to applaud the efforts of the board,superintendent and other district officials.

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“This is a special community and a special school district.You’re fortunate to be blessed with the leadership of Sam Boundsand this board,” Grey Ferris, a former legislator, told thecrowd.

Ferris, who was head of the education committee when $3.5million was appropriated for the project, complimented thecommunity on its support of public education.

The state money was given to the school to help it prepare toteach Mississippi School of the Arts students. Voters in 1999approved a $7.5 million bond issue to fund additional buildingrenovations.

Board member Carl Aycock, who served as board president duringthe past year, also thanked the community for their approval of thebond issue, which allowed the facility to undergo construction.

“And certainly we also want to thank the teachers and studentswho have endured about a year and a half of what we call TrailerPark High,” he said, referring to the manufactured classrooms usedduring construction.

Other board members also thanked the community for theirpatience while anticipating the completion of the building.

“This is a great day for Brookhaven. We thought this day maynever come, but here it is,” said Dr. Prentiss L. Smith, who waspresident of the board of trustees when the bond issue passed in1999.

Bounds’ efforts were also acknowledged by a number of peopleduring the dedication ceremony.

“Without his insight, determination, dedication and especiallyhard work, we would not be standing here today,” said Smith.

Mayor W.W. “Bill” Godbold was complimented for his cooperationthroughout the process. Bounds said Godbold was willing to meetevery request Brookhaven School District officials presentedhim.

Dist. 92 Rep. Dr. Jim Barnett added that the project was aresult of the determination displayed through so many people in thecommunity.

“I appreciate the hard work of all the people involved. Itcertainly is a great accomplishment for Brookhaven,” he said.

Barnett was flanked by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith as well as stateeducation officials, Brookhaven Aldermen Les Bumgarner and BobMassengill and Brookhaven Police Chief Arlustra “Pap”Henderson.

Brookhaven School District officials joined the crowd along withformer superintendent Dr. George Brumfield and former BHS principalW.L. Roach.

During the ceremony and reception, board members pointed out howthe addition of an improved high school building will have aneffect on the academic level of the entire district because of thepride and joy it will bring students.

“I’m elated about this upscale facility for our students. It isjust overwhelming,” said Board Member Gwendolyn Sartin.

The board pointed out that they have now provided teachers withthe best possible facility for education to flourish in and theyturned that responsibility over to the teachers and students of theschool district.

“Now it is up to the teachers to fulfill that and certainly thestudents as well,” said Aycock.

Not only will the facility benefit Brookhaven High Schoolstudents, but also students from the Mississippi School of the Artswhen they begin attending classes at the high school in 2003.

“In about a year and a half we will be welcoming the students ofthe Mississippi School of the Arts and we look forward to that,”said Aycock.

The arts school students will take basic courses, such as math,science and English, at Brookhaven High School.

Godbold mused of how the two campuses were once faced with asimilar setup when BHS burned over 50 years ago and BHS studentshad to take classes at Whitworth College.

“I saw students go from here to Whitworth College… and nowit’s reversed,” he told local residents and officials gathered forthe dedication ceremony.

Ferris pointed out how the addition to Brookhaven High Schoolwould provide the arts students with a more rounded education.

“As a result of this construction, they’re going to be able toparticipate in all of the wonderful extracurricular activities thatyour children are able to at Brookhaven High School,” saidFerris.

Board members praised the ability of architects and constructionworkers to bring to life the concept they wanted for BHS.

“There’s not another high school in this state that can rivalit. It’s an architectural wonder,” said Board President AmyValentine.

The community showed board members how excited and grateful theywere for the building by complimenting the board after the officialdedication ceremony.

Many made a point to find board members at the reception in theOle Brook Dining Hall or while taking tours of the newbuilding.

Aycock pointed out how the building stands out and makes apositive statement in downtown Brookhaven.

“I think it’s a welcome addition in that part of Brookhaven.It’s something everyone can be proud of, even people who have notgone to Brookhaven High School in the past,” he said.