West Baton Rouge Parish residents will get their first detailed look this week at some of the multi-million dollar improvements projects that the parish school system has in the works for its schools.
Schools Superintendent Wesley Watts has announced the district will host two public viewings of renderings for construction projects set to start in November at Brusly and Cohn elementary schools.
The viewings, to be held in the school cafeterias of both campuses, start at 6 p.m. The one for Brusly Elementary is on Wednesday, while the one for Cohn Elementary is scheduled for Nov. 6.
"We really just want to show them what we're doing," Watts said. "We've been getting their feedback for the last two years."
Brusly Elementary will be getting a new multipurpose building and new classroom additions for its Head Start students. Watts said the new classrooms will eliminate the district's use of temporary buildings on that campus.
The Cohn Elementary campus is also getting upgraded with a multipurpose building and new administrative offices.
In addition, Watts said tha he's also working with the school's alumni association on construction of a memorial park at the site of the old Cohn High School campus adjacent to the elementary school.
Cohn High School was Port Allen's first black K-12 public school during the days of segregation. It was demolished in 2014 after being vacant and falling into disrepair for years.
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"It's going to be a nice commemoration, with artifacts, of Cohn High," Watts said.
Watts said smaller infrastructure upgrades are also included in the projects on both the Cohn and Brusly campuses.
The district is spending approximately $2.5 million at Brusly Elementary and $4 million on enhancements at Cohn Elementary, he said.
West Baton Rouge voters last year approved a $90 million bond issue to pay for upgrades on campuses throughout the district.
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The list of projects includes building a new high school in Brusly and a new campus in Erwinville, which will house Head Start to eighth-grade students in the northern part of the parish.
The new schools will help the district address overcrowding issues and discontinue the use of temporary buildings.
Construction projects at Port Allen High, Chamberlin Elementary and Devall Middle School will kick off in February.
"In 2018, we could have as many as six projects under construction out of the 10 we have planned," Watts said.