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Nonprofit given old Alexander building

Restoration of the old Alexander Attendance Center building tooka step closer to reality Tuesday as Brookhaven School Districtofficials deeded the property to a local nonprofitorganization.

Community Action Fostering Education Activities plans to restorethe building and have it placed on the National Historic Register,members said.

“We want to restore the building in the form of a historicalmuseum and learning center,” said Steven Keys, representing thegroup.

Keys said the group already has received support for the projectfrom the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Supervisors.

The group plans to raise money through fund-raisers as well asapply for grants in hopes the building can be used as a site for amuseum, after-school programs and summer day camp.

“Everything is contingent upon us having the property,” Keyssaid.

Board attorney said that once the board of trustees finds thatthe property is no longer needed by the district and is not beingused for any educational purpose, it can declare it surplus ortransfer it to an organization.

No other proposals were made during the public hearing.

The board voted to deed the property to Community ActionFostering Education Activities but reserved the right to take thebuilding back if it ever ceased to be used for educationalpurposes.

Also during the monthly meeting, board members heard an updateon the Mississippi School of the Arts.

Dr. Vicki Bodenhamer reported an increased and more diverseenrollment for the upcoming school year. One hundred twenty-twostudents will move into the dormitory Aug. 6, she said.

“The Brookhaven community has opened its arms once again withhost families, so we’ll continue to do our service of making ourchildren feel at home away from home,” she said.

Bodenhamer also said the MSA budget had increased $400,000 overlast year and the school received used buses from MississippiSchool for the Blind.

She said she hoped to see construction on Elizabeth Cottage andthe exterior of Lampton Auditorium in the coming months.

“We’re looking forward to a wonderful year,” Bodenhamersaid.

In other matters, the board voted to modify the district’sabsence policy so that employees who serve jury duty still will bepaid for the time they miss work.

In the past, employees’ pay has been docked for missing schoolfor jury duty.

Brookhaven School Board members also announced and adopted alist of goals established during a recent work session.

The board wants to see the district achieve Level Four status bythe 2007-08 year, have a safe and orderly environment at allschools and improve graduation rate by 5 percent by the end of the2008-09 year.

Board members say they also hope to increase the ACT meancomposite score by one point by the end of the 2006-07 year andhave 50 percent of all certified teachers holding an advanceddegree by the 2008-09 year. Barrett said the district had 42percent this year.