SMITHVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) — The reconstruction of the town of Smithville and Smithville School is an ongoing effort that's ahead of schedule.
Thanks to two high dollar grants recently awarded, the school will offer modern amenities above ground and underground.
A grant worth $460,000 will enable Smithville School to be replumbed, and all the sewer waste will go to a force main pump station. It will have a direct line to the town's sewer lagoon.
The grant is also helping the east part of town be tied in into the line which will free up the central part of town for new additions.
A second grant for $1.3 million is enabling work to begin on the combination gym-storm shelter and auditorium.
"Built to withstand 300 mile per hour winds," said Scott Cantrell, superintendent of education for Monroe County, "which it certainly, I think, 200 mile per hour winds were in the F5 tornado that was there, so it's built to withstand that type of wind."
School officials are working to accomodate new students on campus in August and in the future.
"We look for the town of Smithville to grow," added Cantrell. "So we've put that into our plans as we're rebuilding to add for extra room in case the growth came to be."
To help further revitilize the town of Smithville, once the temporary units are transported out the town, plans are to sell the land as an industrial site where the current temporary school is located.
"We already have two businesses that are interested in that area," said Kim Johnson, disaster recovery assistant. "We're hoping that it will bring new businesses in to increase our economic development and the revitalization of Smithville."
"With new parking, new roads, power, fiber, phone, gas — all the utilities there, hopefully, it will be a drawing card for some type of industry to use that particular site," added Cantrell.
Plans call for the temporary school to be out of the mobile units by the start of summer.
As for the sewer work, the contractor has to get insurance requirements and submit them to the federal government.
Smithville's mayor said he believes that work will begin by the end of this month.