Nov 8, 2010 7:19 PM by Melissa Hawkes
For over a year residents in St. Landry Parish have been hearing that a juvenile detention center may soon be in their backyard. A year ago, state and parish officials said the facility would go up on a non-residential site off I- 49, but that deal fell through.
The latest site could be the old Morrow Elementary School. The school closed down a year ago because of a federally ordered desegregation plan and a dwindling school population.
The building is located on Highway 71.
St. Landry Superintendent, Michael Nassif, said "we have been approached to possibly sell and that is "possibly sell" the property there for a juvenile justice detention center."
The therapeutic rehabilitation center would be the first of it's kind in Louisiana. Superintendent Nassif says selling the building would be good for St. Landry Parish.
Nassif said, "some industry there, some economic development and it would relieve the liability of that physical plant remaining vacant."
Nassif says the vacant building has been an eyesore for the community and a target for vandals.
"We have a new cafeteria, a gym that had just been re-roofed, so the facility there is in relatively good shape except for the main building," he said. "That has had some vandalism, so we feel like it would be a good opportunity for us to use that site."
It isn't a done-deal yet. First the site must be appraised and receive approval from the court system.
"We are hoping we won't have any opposition from the court because it is a vacant building and we have no further use for it," he said.
Officials say there is still another location under consideration. We'll keep you up-to-date as to when a final decision is made.