LIVINGSTON — Springfield High School, closed since the August floods, will reopen on Monday, Oct. 3, Livingston Parish Schools Superintendent Rick Wentzel has announced.
While the reopening of Springfield High is “a cause to rejoice,” Wentzel told the school board Thursday, there is still plenty of work to be done.
“We still have six school that are closed to our students," he said. "However, we are persevering and the reopening of one of our high schools shows the progress our staff is making.”
Students at Springfield High have been attending classes on a platoon system at Springfield Junior High since the flood.
Also Thursday, the school board approved funds to cover the cost of emergency labor incurred by principals, teachers and staff during and after the flooding. Wentzel estimates that cost at $73,000.
School Board President Malcolm Sibley said the school system’s staff deserves the thanks of the entire community for their efforts in getting the schools open after the flood. “Even though many of our staff and teachers saw their own homes flooded, they still went to their schools to do what they could to get the schools back in operation,” he said.
The school board also approved a memorandum of understanding between the school system and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections to provide officers to direct traffic at Live Oak High. Wentzel said the move of 2,300 students from Denham Springs High to Live Oak has created traffic problems when students are dismissed. The school board will pay officers working the traffic detail $45 an hour and Wentzel said that the cost will be covered by FEMA on a 95 percent basis.
Wentzel also told the board that 30 pallets of school supplies were delivered to the school district Wednesday, a gift from the St. Tammany Parish School System. Additionally, the superintendent said, he received a check for $42,000 raised in the St. Tammany schools along with about $8,450 is gift certificates.
Country music singer Taylor Swift has pledged to donate $50,000 to the school system, Wentzel said.
School board members voted unanimously to name Alvin Fairburn and Associates to study a plan to rebuild Denham Springs Freshman High and Denham Springs High, both heavily damaged in the flood. The board also pre-approved the following firms that may be called upon to do damage assessments and rebuilding plans for other flooded schools: Ziler Architects; Gassaway Gassaway Bankston Architects; Moates Savoie Hunley Architects; and Coleman Partners Architects.
Other schools that remain closed because of extensive flood damage are Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High.
Editor's note: This article was changed on Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, to note that Springfield High School is reopening on Monday, Oct. 3.