Vermilion

Dec 5, 2011 10:33 PM by Shawn Kline

Vermilion Parish Schools find 5-year flood protection

Three Vermilion Parish Schools are being prepped for the next flood. The school district approved a contract to spend more than a half-million-dollars to keep the schools on dry ground.

"We had about 18-inches of flooding in the school." Erath High Principal, Francis Touchet recalled Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, "we were faced with the cleanup process and getting the school back."
That's was Touchet's first year as Principal. The hurricanes caused thousands of dollars in damage not only to Erath High but Erath Middle and Forked Island/E Broussard Elementary.
Six years later, the school board is investing in protection against mother nature, reaching out to Gulf Coast Aqua Dams and Larry Campisi in Abbeville.

"Everybody has worked on sandbags but sandbags just don't work," Campisi said.

In the flood zone, Campisi says it's not a question of if but when the waters start rising. In that situation, those three schools will be protected by an Aqua Dam. When it's inflated, it will stand six-feet high and surround the entire campus, protecting it from flood waters.

"We're looking at water damage which is the worst of the worst." Campisi says, "(a flood) could simply destroy the schools."

On Forked Island, most buildings are built on high ground, but the elementary school is set just six-feet above sea level.

Based on the previous damages, the school board sees this five-year, $500,000-plus contract as a good investment.

"Tthis way, the schools will stay dry and be utilized as they were originally planned for," Campisi said about his Aqua Dam.

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