Westside Elementary may not reopen until 2018

Westside Elementary in Scott is seen in September 2015. Because of extensive flooding, officials said the school will probably not re-open before January 2018. (Photo: Amanda McElfresh, The Advertiser)

LAFAYETTE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – Westside Elementary will likely not re-open until 2018, school system officials said Wednesday.

The school sustained heavy flood damage in August, when more than a foot of water inundated most of the campus.

Since classes resumed, Westside students and teachers have been split between Scott Middle and N.P. Moss Prep. The school has about 465 students.

But with the Westside campus slated to be closed for more than a year for repairs, district officials proposed establishing portable classrooms, a cafeteria and other amenities on the Scott Middle campus for the foreseeable future.

The Lafayette Parish School Board voted Wednesday to send surveys to all Westside parents to see if they would prefer to remain at their current sites, or move to the temporary Scott Middle campus.

The surveys will be sent out within the next week.

“It’s easy for a couple of people to say ‘this is what everybody wants’ as opposed to just asking everybody,” said board member Tehmi Chassion, who suggested the survey. “I’m for whatever is the best thing and what most of the people want. I would just like to hear it from them.”

Christy Coffey, president of Westside’s parent-teacher organization, said most parents would like to be at one location.

“We would like to be back in Scott,” Coffey said. “We want the portable buildings.”

Coffey said many students ride 30 to 40 minutes each way to the Moss Prep campus. That leads to later homework and bed times, and more strain on families, she said.

“It’s a lot on us as parents,” she said. “We want to be home.”

Westside Principal Lisa Thomas said she’s asked teachers their thoughts and has received mixed opinions.

“We all want to be together,” Thomas said. “The separation has been a big issue. It’s kind of difficult managing two campuses. Some (teachers) are OK where they are, but I think the biggest concern is the thought of actually moving again this year.”

Thomas said she didn’t have any major opposition to the surveys.

“If we need to get consensus, I do understand that,” she said.

A temporary campus could cost about $1.3 million, according to district estimates. However, the school system could receive up to a 90 percent reimbursement from FEMA.

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