The construction of the Hancock County School District’s new administration building is now complete and staff will soon be moving in.
The $2.2 million building was made possible by the passage of a $16.5 million bond, which voters approved in March 2019.
The 7,000 square foot building sits on a 15-acre piece of land, located at 18375 Hwy. 603, Kiln next to the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center.
Judd Brooke donated the land the district.
“I’ve worked with the school board on some of the 16th section land and I knew what a good school board it was and what good leadership the school district had and I got to know Mr. Dedeaux,” Brooke said at last year’s groundbreaking. “It (the property) looked to me like it was a wonderful place for the administration building and I was in a position where I could donate it. And I feel like supporting the school district is one of the most important things I could do as a citizen in this county.”
The building has a total of 17 offices, a board room, work room, and a conference room.
There is also an integrated audio visual system in the board room and throughout the building.
There is a 60-kilowatt rooftop mounted solar array capable of 76,000 kWh per year, with an estimated annual savings of $10,000. The building’s lighting system utilizes 100 percent LED fixtures.
There are about 20 parking spaces in the front and back of the building.
“We’re real excited,” Hancock County School District Superintendent Alan Dedeaux said Monday. “Everyone in the office is excited to get to their office in the new building, to get it ready, and to make it their home away from home.”
Dedeaux said he is also excited for the community.
“It’s just been something that has been needed for a long, long time,” he said. “The money, we feel, is well spent.”
Dedeaux said the administration was housed in its former location at 17304 Why. 603 for more than 20 years. That building, he said, is owned by Hancock County.
Up until a couple of years ago, the county superintendent was elected, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Rick Saucier said, and so the board provided the space. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the Hancock County School Board is required to appoint the superintendent.
“So now that it’s not elected, that’s kind of where all this (new administrative building construction) came about,” he said.
Dedeaux said that the county did not tell the district it needed to move its office.
“Most counties had their offices supplied by the board of supervisors,” he said. “We’re like all the other superintendents now, appointed.”
Dedeaux said that he hopes the new administration building will also provide a “comfortable” place for parents.
“A place they feel welcome,” he said. “The community is the makeup of our school. Without the community, without the community’s support, it wouldn’t work. You’ve got to have everybody working together. Schools working with the community, the community working with the schools, business working with the schools. All of that has to come into play to be a successful school district.”
Dedeaux also stressed the importance of student input and keeping them engaged in the education process.
“That’s why were the 11th rated school district in the state because of everybody working together, community, schools, it’s teamwork,” Dedeaux said. “If we’re not working together, it’s not going to happen, you’re not going to get the best for your students. That’s why we’re here. It’s all about the students. We want to make sure that they get the things they need to be successful in life.”
Dedeaux said that future plans for the property may include the construction of an early childhood education center.
“Hopefully, this could be the hub of the activity for education in Hancock County,” he said.
A ribbon cutting and open house for the new building will be announced at a future date.
The next board meeting will be held in the new building on April 1 at 5:30 p.m.