The Lafayette Parish School Board on Wednesday received its first look at early designs for the new high school to be built in Youngsville.
The 260,000-square-foot school is being designed to promote greater student collaboration and to highlight the school’s planned educational focus on agriculture and energy technologies.
The designs by Abell+Crozier+Davis and Pfluger Architects stem from planning sessions architects organized in late August with residents and school system employees. Those discussions led to a preference for a three-story building with an atrium and a two-story library. A rendering of the library shows an impressive grand stairway and a “makerspace,” an area for students to create projects.
The design for the exterior of the school was inspired by the community’s connections to agriculture and the oil and gas industry, said architect Eric Crozier.
A mix of materials — metal, brick and even painted vertical beams — could become a part of the final exterior design, he said.
The first floor of the building will house the majority of the school’s career and technical-specific classrooms and labs.
While the main administrative offices are planned on the first floor, the second and third floors will also feature space for administrative offices, such as for counselors and assistant principals. The second and third floors will also house general learning and science labs.
The initial phase of construction also includes two gyms and health classrooms. One gym will seat up to 1,600 students and the other up to 400 students. Future expansions could include an auditorium and a three-story classroom wing.
Also on Wednesday, the board announced its intention to consider on Dec. 2 a resolution calling for a bond or new tax election. Chief financial officer Billy Guidry told the board the public notice is necessary, and a formal notice of the possible resolution that could call an election will now be issued to local legislators, as required by law.
Between now and then, the board will make decisions on what the resolution will say.
There’s still several hypothetical scenarios that the full board has yet to discuss in a public meeting. The first step — will there be a resolution? And next, what will the resolution entail?
Superintendent Donald Aguillard has said those details will be hashed out in a workshop tentatively set for Oct. 26 with a special board meeting to make those decisions scheduled prior to Dec. 2.
Aguillard and staff have repeatedly informed the board that new revenue will be needed if the board wants to tackle crowded campuses and deferred maintenance. The board reached its bonding capacity recently when it approved a $126 million sale that will pay for the initial phase of the new high school. The cost for the school is estimated at more than $70 million and the remaining funds from the bond sale could pay for a replacement campus for Drexel Elementary and expansions at Plantation Elementary and Milton Elementary/Middle schools.
Also Wednesday, the board voted 6-1 to deny a request for a waiver needed for a liquor license from a store owner who wants to sell beer at his convenience store, which is located on Milton Avenue directly across from Milton Elementary/Middle School.
Board members Elroy Broussard, Justin Centanni, Jeremy Hidalgo, Britt Latiolais, Dawn Morris and Mary Morrison voted to deny the waiver request. Board member Tommy Angelle voted for the waiver. Board members Erick Knezek and Tehmi Chassion were absent.
Beer had been sold at the location for the past 30 years, but when it changed ownership, the new owner, Mohammed ail Amersi said he was required to obtain a waiver from the School Board as part of his liquor license application because of the store’s proximity to a school. Amersi told the board that without the liquor license “it would be virtually impossible to make a profit” and provide for his family.
Hidalgo, who represents the Milton area, told Amersi that while he empathized with him as a business owner, he couldn’t support beer sales across the street from a school.
“You’re across the street not just from an elementary school, but a middle school with up to eighth-graders,” Hidalgo said. “Beer and children don’t mix.”
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.