County officials are planning to tear down Banner Schoolhouse to make room for a new fire station for the Banner and Bounds communities.
Last week, the Itawamba County Board of Supervisors accepted a quitclaim deed from the Itawamba County School District for the property on which the former school stands.
Supervisors say they plan to tear down the building, which was shuttered as a school in the 1950s, later served as a community center, and now stands empty. They plan to use the land its demolition will open to build a new fire station for the Banner/Bounds Fire Department.
The fire department’s current building is adjacent to the schoolhouse.
“It’ll help that community,” said 1st District Supervisor Charles Horn.
Itawamba County 4th District Supervisor and current president of the county board of supervisors Eric “Tiny” Hughes said the exterior of the building appears to be in decent condition, although that belies an interior that is slowly collapsing.
Supervisors say the building also prevents some crucial renovations to the Banner-Bounds fire station, which sits adjacent to the schoolhouse. Due to the slope of the land, the fire station floods in heavy rain. Water flows under the schoolhouse and into the fire department, Hughes said. The problem can be fixed, but the schoolhouse prevents county leaders from rerouting rainwater.
“You ought to go in there in November and have to stand in water while you’re trying to vote,” Horn said, referencing the station’s use as a voting precinct.
Supervisors don’t have a set date for when they’ll demolish the building. They say once the building has been removed, the Banner-Bounds Fire Department will either build a new station, or expand the one they have onto a portion of the property.
Both Horn and Hughes acknowledged that some people might be hesitant to see a building with such strong historical ties to the community torn down, but also agreed that it was for the overall best.