HES expands facility grounds

Published 9:50 am Monday, December 27, 2010

Thanks to a request by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Huxford Elementary School will soon be able to enjoy a new media center as well as new conference room and special services center at the school.

Carol Middleton, guidance counselor at HES, said the gift of the new buildings is a blessing to the school.

“We are practically busting at the seams out here,” Middleton said. “We are so taxed on space it’s difficult sometimes.”

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Middleton said two doublewide mobile homes have been moved onto the property after April Sells with PBCI made some contacts.

“April Sells actually heard about the possibility of needing some buildings here and made a few calls to see what she could do,” Middleton said. “After making a few calls the Poarch Band of Creek Indians contacted the space center in New Orleans to request some surplus units they had on the base.”

Middleton said officials took a trip to the Louisiana location and saw the units available.

“We knew this was something we could use at the school,” Middleton said. “We had a dream and now it’s become a reality.”

The two units became a part of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ inventory, but officials there are allowing the school to use them as part of the library system at the school.

“Because Poarch is a government, they were able to request the government units at no cost,” Middleton said. “They are giving them to us to be used by our students. This is just wonderful for us.”

Middleton said each of the units will be put to good use with each having a unique purpose for students, faculty and staff.

“The first unit will be used as a media center and a parent center,” Middleton said. “The second unit will be divided and will have a conference room and a special services center. The special services center will be used by special education and mental health team members when it is needed for testing and other meetings.”

Middleton said a planned opening date for the units has not been made, but plans are to begin renovations and modifications after the first of the year.

“We have just gotten the units on the property, so it’s going to take some time to get them ready to use,” Middleton said. “We will be constructing walls in the units to divide them for their intended purpose. We also want to do some cosmetic things like skirting and awnings on the units. We don’t know yet just how long it will take to complete the work, but we hope to get into full swing in January.”

The cost of the units for the school has been minimal, Middleton said.

“We got these units for nothing,” Middleton said. “The only cost we’ve had in getting them to the school was the moving costs. We will also pay for the modification of the buildings, but that is the only costs involved. These are great buildings that are in wonderful shape. They were inside a hangar and were not exposed to the elements until they arrived on our property. They are in like-new condition and we couldn’t be happier.”

In addition to the new buildings for the school, those who visit will see a dramatic change in the parking at the school.

“We have been so blessed to have Rep. (Harry) Shiver looking out for us here at Huxford,” Middleton said. “He was able to get $25,000 for us from the governor’s discretionary funds to be used at the school. We used those funds to get our parking lot paved and striped. It’s so nice to see things like this going on at the school.”

Middleton said this fund appropriation for HES isn’t the first time Shiver has made things happen for the school and the students it serves.

“I just can’t sing his praises enough,” Middleton said. “He has done so much for our school. We are the only school in his district and he certainly looks out for us. Just last year, he was able to get $3,000 for us to use in our positive behavior curriculum. That money was used to purchase prizes and rewards to give to students to reinforce positive behaviors. I was able to get enough materials to use for the year and am still happy to have some of those materials to use for this year as well.”

School principal Donna Silcox was not available for comment on the acquisition of the buildings as of press time.