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On April 3, 1972, the concrete slab was poured for the new Coast Episcopal High School on Espy Avenue as a credit to the hard enduring work performed by Rev. Charles Johnson. The vision of the Episcopal priest was the creation of a non-denominational, non-discriminatory school was materializing after much hardship.
Christ Episcopal School had its beginnings in 1950, and had grown slowly — class by class, until deciding to make its move to Beach Boulevard in one of Pass Christian’s most historic and architectural classic mansions.
In the early months of 1969, the Simmons Estate, formerly a Henderson homestead, had been acquired and renovated for the Episcopal high school. Estimated at a quarter million dollars, the two buildings were fully furnished and awaiting its students. However, on August 17, 1969, just three days after renovations were completed and just weeks before the school was scheduled to open, the Category 5 hurricane and storm surge inundated and completely collapsed the buildings. Nothing was left — all the money spent to convert and equip the buildings was lost.
Disheartened and disappointed, Father Johnson rallied the parents and the school trustees to begin again. They were determined to raise their school. Away from the beaches by a half-mile on Espy Avenue in north Pass Christian, a 37-acre pecan grove was acquired. Two new buildings were constructed in addition to an athletic field house, tennis courts, football field, and baseball diamond. The Academic Building consisted of 13 classrooms, general offices, staff and student lounges, and a library. The complex was opened on September 5, 1972.