By Thomas Sellers Jr.
The original MCHS stood on those grounds facing the historic neighborhood of Wilkinsville Road. This afternoon the latest chapter of Trojan folklore was authored in front of the Millington Board of Alderman, Mayor Terry Jones, members of the Millington School Board, Millington Area Chamber of Commerce, Millington Municipal School officials, other community leaders and MMS Superintendent Dr. David Roper.
The reason for the large gathering at the corner of Wilkinsville and School street was for the official groundbreaking of the Millington Municipal Schools Performing Arts Center.
For nearly two years, leaders in City of Millington government, School Board and Millington Municipal Schools worked to make this dream become a reality.
“We’re excited that the process has now gotten to the point of beginning construction,” Roper said. “It has been a long time coming. A lot of people have worked hard to get us to this day. And we’re hopeful in about 11 months from now that we’ll have students occupying this Performing Arts Center.
“It will be a great thing not only for the high school and the school system in general, but the whole community of Millington is going to benefit,” he continued. “Playhouse 51 of Millington, we’ve talked to them. And they’re going to utilize this for some of their performances. It’s going to be a win for all of us – Millington.”
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously passed an ordinance on final reading earlier this month that allows the School Board to fund a Performing Arts Center without a bond issue.
It states that the school board had become aware of revenues that were not projected in the city’s 2018 fiscal year budget and desired to change how other items are funded.
At a special called meeting on Oct. 17, 2017, the school board accepted a low bid of $5,709,295 submitted by Fulwood Construction Co. of Olive Branch, Miss., to build the Performing Arts Center on the Millington Central High School campus.
On Nov. 13, 2017, the city board voted to postpone approval of the school board’s initial request for a $4.8 million bond issue to partially fund the project.
At a special called meeting on Dec. 13, 2017, the school board adopted a resolution to transfer some of its existing funds to finance the construction.
The resolution asked the city board to “proceed expeditiously” with approval of the fund transfer, so that both “mandatory readings” of the budget amendment ordinance could occur before expiration of the Fulwood bid.
Roper estimated that construction will be completed in approximately one year.
“It’s been a joint project,” Mayor Jones noted. “Anything that helps the community helps the schools and our whole community as a whole. You talk about all the things that are going on.
“This is another project going on here at Millington Central High School,” he added. “We’ve got the projects going on at the Airport right now, projects going on at Veterans Parkway. You’ve been up there on Highway 51, Millington is on the grow right now. Now we’ve just got to get some home builders in here now and we’ll be even better.”
The latest coming attraction to Millington, the Performing Arts Center will feature a façade reminiscent of the original MCHS building. The artist version of the Center is on display at the site facing Wilkinsville.
Roper said the historic day for MCHS will be shared by all of Millington in many aspects. But the most important entity the Performing Arts Center will benefit is the current and future Trojans.
“This is all for them,” he concluded. “They deserve this. They deserve something first class. We want it be first class. We’re so happy for them that they’re going to be beneficiaries of all of this.”