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Adams County board hears school construction plans
from Staff Reports - NEWS
February 7, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The Adams County Board of Supervisors met Monday and reviewed plans for constructing and renovating Natchez-Adams schools that could cost an estimated $47 million plus more if they save two schools that officials say should be vacated because they’re too expensive to refurbish. Natchez-Adams School District leaders are holding public hearings to get feedback about preliminary plans to build a new Natchez High School and renovate six other schools.

“We cannot do anything without the OK from the public,” said NASD Superintendent Fred Butcher.

The forums will continue through this month and into March. A final construction proposal will then be developed for the NASD board to approve and present to the county and city governing boards.

Butcher said the final school construction proposal will include financial information detailing whether revenues from the school district’s existing tax base could pay for it or a property tax increase would be needed.

With most NASD schools built in the 1960s, all nine are 50 years old or older. Two schools – Frazier and Robert Lewis – are considered so structurally unsound they should be abandoned, according to school officials. However -- after hearing complaints last month about closing the schools – they got estimates made that it would cost about $9 million to renovate Frazier and $18 million to renovate Lewis.

It would cost about $23 million to build a new Natchez High School. The old NHS could be renovated for an estimated $17 million to house lower grades.

Butcher said the worn-out and outdated conditions of all NASD schools are a deterrent to hiring and retaining good teachers to help improve the education of the 3,000 students. Their poor performance on Mississippi assessment tests has resulted in the Natchez-Adams school system making an ‘F’ on its 2016 report card from the state Department of Education. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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