Growing to teach

Published 9:06 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On hand for groundbreaking ceremonies were, from left, PCI Princess Gabby McGhee, Probate Judge Emilie Mims, Cindy Jackson - Escambia County Board of Education member; April Sells - Tribal emergency management director; Sandra Hiebert, PCI education coordinator; Chuck Brooks - Escambia County Board of Education; Billy Hines - Escabia County Schools superintendent; Steve Hughes - builder; Jacky Barganier - architect; Donna Silcox - Huxford principal.

Spirits were high Tuesday afternoon at Huxford Elementary School as faculty, staff, students and community members gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony and open house for a brand new kindergarten wing funded by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.

HES principal Donna Silcox said the new wing will free up a lot of space in the school and generally help make teachers and students more comfortable.

“We’re very excited and our kids are excited,” Silcox said. “We’re proud to display all of the improvements around our school thanks to the donation from the Poarch Creek Indians and the help of Atmore Maintenance.”

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The $291,000 addition will include two new classrooms as well as its own bathrooms and will free up space in the main building for classroom overflow and a reading coach and teacher workroom area. Silcox said those areas are now located in the school’s auditorium, which will be cleared for general use following construction of the new wing. The new building should also allow some HES teachers to enjoy their own space as several have been forced to share rooms with other classes in recent years.

HES has been in need of the addition for several years as the school’s population has consistently grown. The hope for more space finally seemed within reach following a $337,000 donation from PCI in December of 2010. During a regular meeting Aug. 25 the Escambia County School Board awarded the bid for the new building to Hughes Construction.

In addition to the building project, HES has also added a portable building to serve as the school’s library, which has also been housed in the auditorium. With more room at their disposal Silcox said other smaller amenities have been added such as a “snack shack” for the kids in the auditorium.

Escambia County superintendent Billy Hines said official approval from the building committee is still needed before a date to begin construction can be nailed down but said he expects the building will be under way within the month. Hines said construction should be complete in early 2012.