School building projects to begin in Laurel

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Three large construction projects, including a new baseball stadium at Laurel High School, are set to begin in the city next month. Today, the Laurel School Board voted to borrow $3 million from federal stimulus funds to build that stadium and some science labs at the high school, as well as rebuild the parts of Jones Middle School that were damaged in a 2009 fire.

Some insurance money will also be used to reconstruct classes at the middle school.

Laurel School District officials say taxpayers will see a small increase in millage as part of the plan.

"One of the things I want the community to know is that, even though we're borrowing this $3 million, we're very sensitive to try not to raise the millage rate, and so we will be lowering the millage rate on the operational side and so our projected budget for next year will only have an increase of .39 mills," said school superintendent Chuck Benigno. "These projects came to us at a very unique time, they're time-sensitive for us to hopefully get in to Jones Middle School by next year and so I'm excited that we're able to do all of this and only have a .39 mil increase for next year," he said.

Construction on all projects should begin in mid-August. The School Board hopes some baseball games could be played at the new stadium in the upcoming season.

©2010 WDAM. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.