Covering Louisiana

Aug 14, 2014 12:18 PM by KATC

Officials break ground on new elementary school near Fort Polk

LEESVILLE, La.--The Vernon Parish School District, along with Fort Polk officials, the Office of Economic Adjustment, state and local elected officials and Fort Polk Progress broke ground today on the new South Polk Elementary School during a 10 a.m. ceremony.

In July 2012, area leaders announced that $20 million in funding had been secured for the construction of a new South Polk Elementary School along La. 467. Sixteen million dollars of the funding will come through the federal government, and the state of Louisiana and the Vernon Parish School District will contribute $1 million each to the project. The school district will also contribute $2 million in additional in-kind construction services.

"It is with great pride, I take this opportunity to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for Polk Elementary School," said James Williams, Superintendent of the Vernon Parish School District. "This day is the result of the hard work and dedication of a lot of people. It is more evidence of the strong commitment that the Vernon Parish School Board, General Hickman, former superintendent Jackie Self, Fort Polk Progress, and elected officials on the local, state, and federal levels all possess for the educational excellence standard for all the children in Vernon Parish. I express my personal gratitude to all involved in the construction of this new state-of-the-art facility."

"Today's groundbreaking ceremony for a new elementary school is another visible sign of Vernon Parish's commitment to providing a quality education for the children of the parish," said Brig. Gen. William Hickman, commanding general of Fort Polk and the Joint Readiness Training Center. "Fort Polk Families are thankful for that commitment."

"We're excited to be a part of the process of providing excellent educational opportunities for our military children here at Fort Polk," said Michael Reese, chairman of Fort Polk Progress. "It is through strong partnerships such as these that we're able to achieve such great things for our military families and for our communities. I look forward to the future, when we'll see further fruits of our labor, as we strive for continued excellence in all the communities surrounding Fort Polk."

"In 2011, the State of Louisiana committed $25.2 million in capital outlay and Community Development Block Grant funding to pay for the expansion of a water and sewer system along La. 467 as well as the construction of a parkway connecting La. 467 to La. 468 and La. 468 to La. 28," said state Senator John Smith (R-Leesville). "Today, with the groundbreaking of a new school along that proposed parkway, we mark another milestone in our plan to improve the quality of life for not only our soldiers but our civilians."

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