LAFAYETTE — The school system is exploring low-interest bonds as a way to pay for planned renovations of Thibodaux Career and Technical High School.
It is possible that another round of allocations through the federal stimulus Qualified School Construction Bond program could be available to help fund the project, Billy Guidry, district chief financial officer, told the Lafayette Parish School Board earlier this month.
Guidry said Monday he’s still awaiting word from the Louisiana Department of Education about funding availability. If received, the new allocation would be the school system’s third through the federal stimulus program designated for school construction and repair projects.
To date, the federal program has helped fund $20 million in parish school projects.
Guidry told the board he’s inquired about a potential $30 million allocation.
The new bond allocation could cover the Thibodaux Tech project “with a pretty substantial potential savings on interest,” Guidry told the board earlier this month.
The School Board hired Architects Southwest for the renovation and expansion of the technical high school.
The 1-year-old high school moved from its temporary site at Acadiana Technical College to the former N.P. Moss Middle School site in August.
The high school offers students the opportunity to study areas of interest in four “houses” or career categories: advanced manufacturing, human services, health and applied sciences, and business information systems.
Graduates earn a high school diploma, industry-based certification and college credit.
While students advance by grade level, their coursework grows more specialized depending upon their interest, explained Burnell LeJeune, school system director of career and technical education and schools of choice programs.
Renovations and new space is needed to provide the workshops and lab space for that specialty instruction.
In July, designers offered the board a progress update and estimated a cost of $21 million with new construction complete by fall 2013.
The timeline and budget are still on target during this phase of the project, said Wayne Domingue, project manager with Architects Southwest.
Designers have met with teachers and other stakeholders, such as the school’s advisory board, in the planning process.
Domingue said the design team concluded meetings last week and the input will be used in the development of the schematic plan.
The schematic and a project update will be presented to the board in October.
The renovations and expansion won’t be complete in time for next year when the school’s junior class begins its industry-based certification.
LeJeune said the school will utilize existing workshop and lab resources available at the W.D. and Mary Baker Smith Career Center and Acadiana Technical College.