VWSD kicking off year with opening of Bovina|[07/20/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 18, 2008

Bovina Elementary is exactly what Miki Ginn has always wanted.

“When I went into administration, my goal was to get a small community school,” said Ginn, principal of the school that will open its doors Aug. 4 for the first time in nearly a decade. “When Bovina opened up, I was thrilled because it’s exactly what I wanted – and it’s not often people get exactly what they asked for.”

This week, Ginn and teachers were at the school, preparing for the first day of class.

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Bovina is reopening this year due to population growth in the area east of Vicksburg. Built in 1953, it was once an all-black school in the Warren County Public School District.

This year, nearly 400 children from Beechwood and Sherman Avenue elementary schools and Warren Central Intermediate will make up the student body. About 35 teachers, cafeteria workers and custodians will staff the school.

The school, off Tiffentown Road and visible from Interstate 20, has been used as a storage warehouse for the district since it closed in 1999, for the opening of megaschools Dana Road and Sherman Avenue. Bovina has undergone renovations to get it ready for students. Changes include new flooring, lights, fire alarms, an intercom system, gas lines, and a new and expanded cafeteria.

“We started from the ceiling and worked our way down,” said Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Dr. James Price. “It’s just become a whole new building.”

Items previously stored at the 19-classroom school have been recycled or moved to another location.

Bovina consists of two main buildings – one for the upper elementary, or fourth through sixth grades, and another for the lower elementary, or kindergarten through third grades.

The school is still missing a few pieces of furniture, including tables for the kindergarten rooms, but Ginn said they will be delivered in time.

“We have worked very hard to get the school to where it is now, and we will have to continue working hard in the coming weeks,” Ginn said. “There are some long hours in front of us, but we will be completely ready when the time comes for school to start.”

Renovations have been costly but Price said it has been worth it. The other option was purchasing mobile classroom units. At around $80,000 per unit, Price said, six could have been purchased for the same price it took to renovate Bovina.

“Right now, there is overcrowding in the North Zone and we had to do something,” Price said. “There is no way we could get this much floor space for this amount of money any other way and this school we now have will last us 20 to 25 years. The investment will pay itself off many times in the future.”

“People keep asking me if I am nervous,” said Ginn, 33, the youngest principal in the district. “I just laugh and tell them. ‘No, not yet.’ I haven’t had time to be nervous yet, but I am sure that will hit me the week before school starts. I am just very excited.”

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