LAFAYETTE, La. — Carencro Heights Elementary, Prairie Elementary, and Lafayette High schools are all getting new campuses.
The decision was made on Wednesday at a special school board meeting. Funding for the projects was included in the district's Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget, which the board also approved Wednesday.
Board member Justin Centanni, representing District 6, says the money is already assigned to each project, and now each school will be assigned an architect to start outlining the future of each of the schools.
The whole project will cost $150 million.
The elementary schools, according to Centanni, can be expected to be built within a year or two. Lafayette High will take longer.
“Mostly because of the complexity of building on-site, if that’s where we build it, it’s going to be quite the logistical hurdle,” he said.
A sophomore at the high school commented during the meeting, saying it’s time to take action.
“I’m so glad that it’s up to us, right now, to make that decision,” she said. “And speaking of the auditorium, y’all. It is bad. Every time it rains, it floods.”
Centanni says the board would like to build the new school on different grounds from the original building, but there is not a lot of green space in the school's attendance area.
In regards to all three decisions though, he says building a school is the best investment for a city.
“The biggest impact is the future of the city of Lafayette and the city of Carencro,” he added. “There’s very little economic development as good as building a school. Providing quality education, providing quality facilities for the children and the community makes parents want to live there, home values rise, trains future generations and leaders of the city.”
Board member Hannah Mason, representing District 8, says the vote was a full-circle moment for her. She attended Lafayette High in the 90s.
“Sophomore year, I made the winning free throw under this basketball goal where we voted now for a new Lafayette High,” she said. It’s definitely topping my previous great moment. I’m so proud for Lafayette.”
Another decision made at the meeting today – the 200 building at Lafayette High will be dedicated to Melinda Mangham. She was a longtime English teacher at the school and died in April of last year.
Her daughter was at the meeting and accepted the honor, and board members told stories about how great of an educator Mangham was.
The FY 2021-22 budget was approved by an 8-0 vote, with District 4 board member Tehmi Chassion being absent for the vote. The $586,379,719 budget includes more than $117 million for capital project funds, with $10,000 set aside for Southside High construction and more than $73 million for the Self-Funded Construction Fund.
The budget sets aside $311.9 million for the General Fund, which includes the system's general operating needs, like staffing changes and rental fees.
The budget also reflected the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the anticipated impacts moving forward.
You can read the entire approved budget here.
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