Thompson School celebrates start of renovation with groundbreaking

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Thompson School will kick off the start off its face-lift today with a groundbreaking ceremony.

The school, which educates more than 400 Head Start children, has long been plagued with roof and other facility problems but it is about to begin a $3.1 million renovation.

&uot;Finally we’re coming to the point where it will really be an outstanding building,&uot; said Lamar Braxton, CEO of AJFC Community Action Agency which operates the school.

Last year at this time, the agency was facing possible loss of the building but now it can look forward to using it well into the future, Braxton said.

This comes as a big relief to officials with the federally funded agency who thought they had few other options.

&uot;There was absolutely no place to (move) in Natchez that would meet our space-needs for Head Start,&uot; Braxton said.

AJFC Community Action Agency offers education and daycare services at Thompson School for eligible families of children who range in age from newborn to preschool.

The building is licensed to hold 504 students but concerns about the building are blamed for the slight drop in enrollment.

The agency is in the process of replacing its roof after which the building renovations, funded through its funding agency — the Administration for Children and Families — can begin in earnest.

The project includes two phases with the first to begin this spring and the second not to begin until May 2002.

The renovations include such projects as new paint, wiring. lighting and plumbing for Thompson School.

It will also include computer hookups and bathrooms for all classrooms.

Thompson School will hold its groundbreaking for the project at 10 a.m. today at Thompson School on North Union Street.

As great as today will be, agency officials are even more exciting about an openhouse they plan to hold in the fall of 2002 celebrating the completion of the work.

&uot;That will really be the shouting day,&uot; Braxton said.

Tuesday’s groundbreaking will be followed by a second groundbreaking at 3 p.m. in Gloster honoring the construction of a new Head Start facility for that area.

AJFC receives more than $4 million annually in operational funding. It offers services in a nine-county area with Head Start facilities in four of those counties.