Aug 21, 2013 11:01 AM by AP, PHOTO: MGN ONLINE
ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - Martin Park Elementary students, displaced since a school fire last year, could return to their building in Alexandria for the 2014-15 school year.
An early-morning fire caused extensive damage to the school on Oct. 12.
Students started another school year in the former Hadnot-Hayes Elementary building on Friday and are expected to remain there until Martin Park Elementary has been restored.
Roy Rachal, risk manager for the Rapides Parish School District, tells The Town Talk (http://townta.lk/16vk2VZ) the second phase of the project to restore Martin Park Elementary could begin as early as October. The two phases are expected to cost about $5 million.
A maintenance worker arrived at Martin Park Elementary about 5:35 a.m. Oct. 12, and smoke poured out the door when he opened the school, said Larry King, chief of fire prevention.
There were no injuries; no one was in the building at the time of the fire. The blaze began in the center of the school in a classroom area, causing the roof to collapse.
A 12-year-old boy was arrested and charged with one count of simple arson in connection with the fire in the following weeks.
Although the fire was contained to one classroom, Rachal said, the fire affected the entire school with soot and smoke. Firefighting efforts also caused damage to surrounding areas.