Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Friday, January 22, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History announced Hawkins Elementary as one of its Heritage Preservation Grant recipients, with $35,200 in funding to be used for renovations.
“We are very thankful to have received this MDAH grant that will provide assistance in making needed repairs on the roof at Hawkins Elementary,” said Dr. Robert Williams, superintendent for the Hattiesburg Public School District. “Hawkins has a proud history and means a great deal to the surrounding community, and we look forward to continuing to upgrade the learning environment for our students.”
Built in 1951, G.L. Hawkins Elementary School, with its art deco architecture, is one of 38 structures in Hattiesburg with Mississippi Landmark designation. Only structures with the designation are eligible for Heritage Preservation grants, and Hawkins was the only active school to receive the funding.
“Preservation grants are incredibly important to Hattiesburg because of how many buildings we have that have earned Mississippi Landmark designation,” said Mayor Toby Barker. “Additionally, any funding received helps stretch our 2018 school bond proceeds to meet the many capital needs of our public schools. This grant happened through the advocacy of Representatives Missy McGee and Percy Watson, the work of grant writer Jennifer Shows and the partnership between the City of Hattiesburg and the Hattiesburg Public School District.”
Hawkins Elementary is the second school in Hattiesburg to receive funding from the grant in two years. Woodley Elementary was the first in 2019.
“For the second consecutive year, I am excited that Hattiesburg – and more specifically the students of the Hattiesburg Public School District – were the beneficiaries of this funding,” said District 102 State Representative Missy McGee. “Hawkins is unique in that it is both a historic landmark and continues to educate children in our only active downtown public school. I am pleased the Legislature once again funded this program during the 2020 session, and I am hopeful we will have the opportunity and political will to provide additional funds to preserve and rehabilitate historically significant properties in 2021.”
As a collaborative program between the City of Hattiesburg, its legislative delegation and the Hattiesburg Public School District, letters of support from McGee, Barker and Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden were instrumental in its application.