When the Multi-Purpose Building was constructed at the school, it left the girls’ gym unused, Principal Mickey Fabre explained during Tuesday’s meeting of the school board’s Maintenance District 3 Committee.
The library is overcrowded, with little storage for the school’s audio/visual equipment, too many stacks and too little room for students to use it as intended, he said.
Scheduling the library is often a problem for teachers as only one class can fit at a time in the room, he said. In addition, alternate students are sent to the library when needed, further congesting the area, he said.
The expansion would bring the library from 3,600 square feet to 6,000 square feet as planned currently by Architect Carl Blum. His plans call for the library to “give a focal point for the school” as it is in the center of the floor plan, and they call for the natural height of the gym to be used by installing windows to allow for natural lighting in both the library and the art classes.
The possibility of instead building a second floor, or part of one, and adding classrooms also was discussed once school board member Roland Verret determined the foundation could support it.
“We’re not looking for another visitor’s center here,” he said, making reference to the Cajun Coast Welcome and Interpretative Center which experienced a foundation failure June 14. Blum assured him there were more than enough pilings under the high school to accommodate the extra weight.
“Believe me, that’s the last thing I want,” Blum said.
Another phase of the plan is a commons area.
That would be made from the area now occupied by the defunct girls’ locker room. School officials said the school’s construction is of tight hallways that make for difficult passage. The commons area is designed to relieve a bit of the congestion, Blum said.
Blum also planned for the current library to be renovated into a new guidance department, but Fabre said the guidance counselor doesn’t want to move from her current location.
The committee decided to look at other schools for inspiration as to how to proceed before making any final decisions.
Current estimates for the projects are $1.4 to $1.5 million for the library and art classes, $267,000 to $343,000 for the guidance project and $278,000 to $334,000 for the commons project. The total is $1.9 to $2.1 million for all three which includes a 15 percent contingency, Blum said.
There already is $1.5 million earmarked in the district’s capital fund budget for the renovations and $975,000 for associated air conditioning needs at the same school.
Also approved Tuesday was a recommendation to the full board to distribute $200,000 to the technology department from the maintenance fund to purchase 37 more Promethean boards for District 3 classrooms.
This money should be enough to put one in every core subject classroom on the junior high and high school levels and in every first- through fifth-grade classroom. Sixty-nine percent of those classes have them. Each board without accessories costs just under $5,000.