Students, families, teachers, School Board members, both current and former, school district personnel and city leaders came out en masse Sept. 10 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and program celebrating the completion of Copper Mill Elementary’s new gymnasium in Zachary.
The event featured performances by the school’s band and orchestra students.
The last in a long series of construction projects for the school district, School Board President Hubie Owen said the new gym and six ancillary classrooms were the final project of $129 million in bond money taxpayers approved nearly 13 years ago, when the Zachary School District was created in 2003.
“This is it. This is the final construction project,” said Owen, whose remark drew a round of applause from those at the ceremony.
Superintendent Scott Devillier, Principal Keisha Thomas, who is on medical leave from Copper Mill, and interim Principal Patrick Jenkins all remarked on the new facility. Assistant Principal Angela Cassard, who recently returned from maternity leave, attended but did not speak at the event.
“As a city, community and school system, we all come together to do what’s best for our children, and I thank you all for your support,” Devillier said.
Zachary Mayor David Amrhein and his wife, Robyn, City Council members and State Rep. Dalton Honoré also attended the ribbon cutting.
Jenkins, formerly the district’s operations supervisor, said the addition of the gym and classrooms, which adds 28,781 square feet of space, makes Copper Mill the largest single-floor school in the district. Zachary High, with its multiple structures and second-floor buildings, is the largest of its type.
The $4.5 million gymnasium project began in March 2014 and was completed in June.
The entrance to the 10,000-plus-square-foot gym features a vestibule with glass cases for trophies and awards, boys’ and girls’ restrooms and a basketball-volleyball competition court with bleachers that feature the letters “CM” for Copper Mill.
The gym also features boys’ and girls’ dressing spaces, a coach’s office and restroom, storage space for PE equipment, a stage and multipurpose room.
Ancillary space for full and small-group instruction includes an art room with a separate kiln closet, music room, practice room, music director’s office and storage space for instruments and equipment, a computer lab, two elective classrooms, such as for Spanish, three community-based education rooms for teaching life skills and a special education classroom.
Electrical, mechanical, data and sprinkler rooms round out the total indoor square footage, while outdoors, two 7,068-square-foot hard courts complete the structure.
All doors to the new building are accessed electronically by key cards.
Architects on the project are Henry Carville and Jeremy Lucas, of Bani, Carville and Brown. Duane Mizell and Blake Panepinto, of Stuart and Co., were the general contractor and project supervisor, respectively.
Also, Don Simpson, the district’s construction supervisor; Mike Fontaine, a landscape architect; and Angelo’s Landscaping were involved in the construction phase of the new Copper Mill addition.