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Groundbreaking for new Academy of Innovation set for Wednesday

School leaders, students, elected officials, project partners and community members will join for a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. mark the beginning of construction of the new Academy of Innovation middle school.

The new building will stand on the corner of Mission 66 and Rosa A. Temple Drive, and is scheduled to be complete October 2020.

This new state-of-the-art building will feature an open environment allowing a personalized student curriculum that reflects the creativity of its students. The structure will serve as a teaching tool at multiple levels and will encourage collaboration between teachers and students. The cost of the project is $16.4 million.

“We are excited to move forward on this project and to finally have this brand new space to support today’s learning,” Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent of Education Chad Shealy said. “It is time that our students have the safe and engaging environments they deserve and for our community to be proud of their schools.”

The Academy of Innovation serves seventh and eighth grade students and has grown from 80 students five years ago to 392 today.

AOI is a STEM Academy and focuses on student-centered learning, providing experiences that motivate all students through rigorous and technologically enhanced curriculum and developing life-long learners.

Last year the Academy of Innovation was named the only Leader In Me Lighthouse School in the state of Mississippi. It is currently housed in the former Grove Street School, built in 1949.

“The teachers at AOI are doing wonderful things with and for kids. We are so excited to have an opportunity to move into a new building that will allow us to expand these unique learning experiences for our students,” AOI principal Dr. Jason McKellar said.

The brand new Academy of Innovation was made possible by the passage of an $83 million facilities bond issue in March 2018.

Other projects included in the bond issue are renovations and additions at both Vicksburg High School and Warren Central High School, upgrades at Vicksburg Junior High and Warren Central Junior High schools, and improvements at all elementary schools based on needs. Improvements to many of the district’s athletic facilities are also included.