At approximately 2:15 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 7, the Hattiesburg Fire Department responded to a fire in the 500 block of Forrest Street.
When firefighters arrived on scene at 2:19 a.m., they found an active fire in the old gymnasium across from Hawkins Elementary School. Firefighters worked to extinguish the flames. No injuries were reported.
The Mississippi State Fire Marshal’s office has been contacted to assist with the investigation, and they will arrive on scene Monday morning to investigate the cause.
At this time, Forrest Street (between Green Street and the Family Education Center on Forrest Street) will be closed while further evaluation is done on the building. Protective fencing has been installed.
Damage from the fire also includes power poles and lines, which has resulted in outages to a handful of nearby buildings. Mississippi Power is currently on scene to reroute and restore power to these affected buildings.
Beginning Monday, Feb. 8, school pick-up and drop-off for Hattiesburg Public School District will occur on the Green Street side of the Hawkins Elementary campus.
The Hawkins Gymnasium, located at 520 Forrest St., was built in 1937 as the gymnasium for the old Hattiesburg High School on Main Street. It was a Works Progress Administration project.
While a contributing structure in the Hub City National Register District, the building itself is not listed as a Mississippi Landmark. On Thursday, Jan. 14, the City of Hattiesburg and the Hattiesburg Public School District met with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History about the potential for renovations.
On Tuesday, Feb. 2, the Hattiesburg City Council approved a $7,500 grant application for a planning and feasibility study and on Friday, Feb. 5, the application was submitted.