GULFPORT -- If you are wondering what's up with the scaffolding at the historic Gulfport High School building downtown, the federal General Services Administration has embarked on a $1.1 million facade restoration to plug leaks -- less than 13 years after spending millions to renovate the building.
GSA has hired government contractor Katmai Support Services LLC to oversee the work, Subcontractor Alternative Solutions Inc. is cleaning exterior masonry and stucco, replacing cracked or chipped masonry, re-pointing masonry, sealing stucco and replacing deteriorated sealants. A special polymer coating also is being applied to areas around the roof vulnerable to leaking.
The GSA says Hurricane Katrina and tropical storms caused the leaks. Work started in November and should be finished by July or August.
The federal agency looked around for awhile before it bought the downtown property for a courthouse complex, agreeing to save the school that opened in 1924 after the previous high school burned down. The building was later home to Central Junior High School.
It now houses the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Gulfport Division of Mississippi's Southern District, and other court-related offices. Construction next door of the Dan M. Russell Jr. United States Courthouse and restoration of the old school cost a total of about $60 million. The project was completed around August 2003.