New schools, more classrooms up for debate this week

L.J. Alleman Middle School could see new renovations and additions with new tax revenues. (Photo: The Daily Advertiser)

Fourteen school improvement projects will be up for discussion this week as the Lafayette Parish School Board begins deciding how it would use new tax revenues.

If voters approve one tax initiative on April 9, it would allow the district to issue $380 million in bonds to fund various facility projects.

The board will develop a list of projects to be funded with that money. That list is up for discussion at Tuesday committee meetings and the Wednesday board meeting. The final vote is slated for Feb. 10.

Two proposed projects are complete replacements of existing schools — Lafayette High and Carencro Heights Elementary. The Lafayette High replacement would cost around $115 million, while the Carencro Heights project would cost about $26 million.

Several projects call for expansions at schools. There could be new wings at L. Leo Judice Elementary ($9 million), Prairie Elementary ($9 million) and Evangeline Elementary ($9 million). A new wing could be built at Broussard Middle for $12 million to $14 million.

Funds could also allow for second phases of additions and renovations at L.J. Alleman Middle ($44 million to $50 million), Katharine Drexel Elementary ($9 million) and the new high school in south Lafayette Parish ($39 million to $44 million).

There could be major renovations at the W.D. and Mary Baker Smith Career Center, to the tune of $24 million to $30 million. Renovations at all high schools would cost $60 million. Renovations to all middle and high schools would cost $67 million to $70 million.

Other possible projects are a $20 million security package for all schools, and air conditioning all gyms for $12 million.

Chief Financial Officer Billy Guidry said the cost estimates vary because of the scope of the work could change. The board could allocate larger amounts of money for a smaller number of projects, or tackle more projects with somewhat less work at each site.

“These are meant to be options, and the board can choose from the list or generate something of their own,” Guidry said. “We’re looking for them to pick some of those options, or provide a listing to serve as the final project listing. This is meant to be a starting point for the board to use to arrive at a final listing.”

WANT TO GO?

The project listing will be discussed at the school board facilities committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the finance committee at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. It also is up at the regular board meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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