It's what Choctaw County officials are calling a great year and great expectations. After about five years of being tied up in court, a bond to build three new schools in Choctaw County has become a reality.
Later this year 7th and 12th grade students will move into a new building for Choctaw County High School and Southern Choctaw County High. Meanwhile, students in the three elementary schools in the northern end of the county have already come together and moved into the newly formed Choctaw County Elementary.
"For the first time in the history of the county that I know of, the students will be able to go to school and if it rains or is bad weather, they won't get wet inside the building. They'll be inside a real up-to-date, state-of-the-art facilities,” says Choctaw County Superintendent William Boggs.
State-of-the-art facilities such as motorized bleachers in the gymnasium and internet access in all classrooms, all at a cost of roughly $26.5 million.
Despite and increase in students on two of the campuses, officials say one thing that has not changed is class sizes. As in the past they say there are still about 20 students in each class, something which they say helps the new, larger schools keep the 'smaller' school feel. This is something which officials project will help continue to nurture the students overall education.
Meanwhile, as for something else that did change with the consolidation of the three elementary schools, officials say at least four teaching positions were lost. Although unfortunate, they say in the end the consolidation will benefit everyone.
"It's better not only for the students but for the community as well. When you're looking for new industry to come in this is one of the first things they look for is the structure of the schools in your area," says Choctaw County Elementary Principal Wayne Longmire.
Although the new Choctaw County Elementary is open the new buildings for Choctaw County High and Southern Choctaw County High are not expected to be ready until later this year. Meanwhile, once all the old facilities are vacant, district officials say they will be put up for sale.
"A lot of the municipalities in the area are interested in these buildings," says Boggs, "the ones in Silas, Lisman and some of these over here in Butler."
He says the exact fate of the buildings should be known within the next year.