Lafayette Parish School Board members got their first look Wednesday at some proposed attendance zones for high schools.
The initial plans have focused mostly on the yet-to-be-named new high school in southern Lafayette Parish. Construction on that school is expected to start this spring, with the first phase open in August 2017. It will be built near the intersection of Chemin Metairie Parkway and South Larriviere Road.
According to a preliminary edition of the zones, the new school’s westernmost boundary would be Johnston Street, up to E. Broussard Road. The school would take in students who live south of E. Broussard and Vincent Road, and east of Johnston Street.
The new school would also take in all students who live south of Ambassador Caffery Parkway.
Demographer Mike Hefner said the Comeaux High zone would subsequently extend to an area between E. Broussard Road and Ambassador Caffery. That, in turn, would cut into the Lafayette High zone, allowing that school to reduce its student population.
Based on last year’s enrollment data, Hefner said the projected enrollment at Lafayette High would drop to around 1,374 students, but could stay as high as 1,800 to 1,900 students if those who attend its academies are included. The school currently has nearly 2,500 students.
The projected initial enrollment for the new high school is 1,342 students. Other projected enrollments include 1,425 at Comeaux High; 2,086 at Acadiana High; 1,615 at Carencro High and 1,079 at Northside High.
“What we’ve tried to do is keep the numbers reasonable to give (the new school) some growth ability, and try to use some clean lines,” Hefner said at a board workshop Tuesday. “I like to try to move away from non-visible boundaries, where it’s just lines drawn on a map.”
As he looks at the zones for the parish’s other high schools, Hefner said he is trying to eliminate “split middle school zones,” in which eighth graders from the same school end up attending different high schools as freshmen.
Board members Justin Centanni, Dawn Morris, Erick Knezek and Jeremy Hidalgo, who were present at the workshop, agreed to use Hefner’s maps as an initial working plan for the new school. Other proposed zones are expected to come to the board this spring.
If officially approved, no new zones are expected to go into effect before 2017.