BAY ST. LOUIS -- Hancock County School District Superintendent Alan Dedeaux had a vision four yea22rs ago to enhance his district's arts abilities. Dedeaux's vision became reality Saturday as he welcomed members of the community to the grand opening of the Hancock County Performing Arts Center.
The arts center is adjacent to Hancock County Middle School near Stennis International Airport in Bay St. Louis. It was built with $8 million from a $16 million bond passed by Hancock County voters.
"When we wanted to push the bond issue, we went around to the community and asked what they felt that we needed in our schools to make them the best they could be and they felt like we needed to stress the arts more in our schools," he said. "We feel like this facility will do that."
Dedeaux said the center is an extension of the district's education mission.
"We have top-notch academics and we have any athletic program anyone could want," he said. "I call it the 'three As' -- academics, athletics and the arts.
"Some of the first things that some schools cut is the arts, but we don't want to do that to our students."
The additional $8 million of the bond, Dedeaux said, was spent on infrastructure and renovation projects.
"We built a new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) building at the tech center," he said. "We wanted our students to get the most benefit from the bond."
Catherine Tibbs, the center's coordinator, said it will serve both the school district and the community. "It's been a dream for many years," she said. "It is a state-of-the-art facility, from the lighting that was installed to the sound. We are hoping to bring in some different shows and plays as well as have arts camps for our students."
Tibbs said a group from Diamondhead is hoping to bring singer Bobby Rydell to the center in May.