LAFAYETTE — Work continues in Iberia Parish this summer to complete $60 million in new construction, renovations and upgrades approved by voters in 2009.
“We have more than $50 million in work going on right now,” Iberia Parish school Superintendent Dale Henderson said.
Recently, the district broke ground for the construction of Loreauville Elementary School, and a new school building that will replace Hopkins Street and Johnston Elementary schools is expected to be completed in December, Henderson said.
The two new elementary schools are part of the $60 million construction and facility improvement package that also includes: a 10-classroom building for the district’s career center, 12 outdoor pavilions for elementary schools, new support service buildings for food service, print shop, maintenance and special education, security enhancements, auditorium remodels for New Iberia Senior High and Westgate High, metal detectors for middle and high schools, bus surveillance cameras, elementary school renovations, and upgrades for intercom and telephone systems.
The majority of the projects are under way, but the $3 million Career Center project is still on the drawing board, Henderson said.
Both new elementary schools are about 75,000 square feet, and the estimated construction cost is $12.5 million, Henderson said.
The district opted to build new support service buildings to replace outdated facilities, and to move services housed on the old naval airbase on Admiral Doyle Drive to board-owned property closer to the center of the city, Henderson said.
Renovations at elementary schools have included the installation of an additional set of doors that funnel visitors to the schools’ front office.
Henderson said the additional security feature is a proactive measure and not in response to any incident.
The bond sale also has supplied portable metal detectors to schools, which can be used for special events or as needed on school campuses, he said.
“We don’t want to react to something,” Henderson said. “The board has been interested in being proactive. That’s why we’ve taken these safety and security steps.”
Henderson said at least $6 million — from the 2009 $60 million bond proposition — was earmarked for technology and associated professional development.
Over the past 25 years, the district has continued to improve facilities with voter-supported bond propositions.
In 1985, a $30 million bond proposition addressed middle school needs, followed by another $30 million bond proposition in 1998 that tackled high school needs. A 2004 $62 million bond proposition focused on elementary school campuses.
“It’s been a well-laid out plan,” Henderson said.