STARKVILE, Miss.—Officials of Mississippi State and the new Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District are taking the first joint steps toward the construction of a new school building for sixth- and seventh grade students.
The proposed facility will be called the MSU – Starkville-Oktibbeha CSD 6-7th Grade Partnership School. The need for an additional facility is a key component of a city-county consolidation plan developed last year to provide enhanced educational opportunities for all city and county students.
The consolidation plan calls for the continuance of four elementary schools in their current locations, moving all eighth- and ninth-graders to Starkville’s Armstrong Middle School and establishing Starkville High School as the learning center for all city and county 10th-12th classes.
University and public school leaders have said that while the new sixth- and seventh-grade building to serve a projected 900 students is the immediate focus of the partnership, increased collaborations between the two educational entities will take place at all levels in the future.
“The Partnership School Mississippi State University is committed to continuing our active role as a powerful force for growth and development in Starkville and Oktibbeha County,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “The vision of this proposed venture is one that will both improve student outcomes and elevate the teaching profession.”
Lewis Holloway, Starkville School District superintendent, said the new school “represents an incredible opportunity for the district and Mississippi State to become stronger, while discovering the most effective educational techniques for students.
“Each teacher and administrator will benefit from this partnership, while Mississippi State faculty and students also will have the benefit of hands-on experience in a real school,” Holloway added.
According to planners, a 43-acre site on the MSU campus near the state Highway 182 main entrance has been chosen for what will be designated The Partnership School. Funding to construct and equip the nearly 102,000-square-foot facility currently is being sought from the Mississippi Legislature, as well as other sources.
Keenum and Holloway also emphasized that the new school will become the keystone of a research center for rural teaching at the land-grant institution established 137 years ago that has grown to become the state’s flagship research university.
For more information on the Partnership School, a fact sheet is available at http://www.msstate.edu/web/temp/newsfiles/partnership_school_nov14.pdf.