Oak Grove Longleaf Elementary School is located off West 4th Street in Hattiesburg. Officials plan to open the school in August 2013. The nine million dollar construction project should be finished around May. About 750 kindergarten through 5th grade students are expected to attend.
"We're just trying to stay up with the growth of our campuses," says Lamar County Superintendent Ben Burnett. He says the district is the second fastest growing district in the state and Longleaf Elementary was built to take away some of the overflow from Oak Grove's three elementary schools.
"Our plan is to take roughly 200 off of Oak Grove Primary, Oak Grove Upper and Oak Grove Lower Elementary."
Burnett says that Oak Groves' kindergarten through first grade has over one thousand students. The district is trying to avoid overcrowding.
He assures that students outside the Oak Grove attendance zone will not be required or zoned in to the new school, "mostly students who live north of Highway 98."
The district plans to use existing staff at Longleaf. "There will be a few support people that we'll have to hire new, but mostly it's from our staff that we're simply moving from one school to another."
Around 30 to 35 teachers will be needed to staff the new school. Burnett says after next week's Kindergarten Roundup they'll know if some tweaking in numbers needs to be made. "We're trying to conserve money as much as we can and use existing staff."
Burnett says the county's board of supervisors will also work on widening 4th Street during the summer to make the route to school more accessible.