Lanier Elementary, one of two Baton Rouge charter schools that flooded in August 2016, moved a stepped closer to being repaired.
The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Thursday gave tentative approval to more than $3.2 million worth of repairs to the 59-year-old elementary school at 4705 Lanier Drive. If the school board gives its final approval at the Nov. 16 meeting, the project will go out for bid in January with completion planned for this summer.
Lanier, which is run by Los Angeles-based Celerity Schools, has spent the past 14 months operating at one of Celerity’s other two schools in Baton Rouge, at the campus of the former Crestworth Middle School.
Lanier was gutted in the weeks after the August 2016 floods but has sat empty since awaiting repairs.
CSRS/Tillage Construction handles most school construction work for the parish school system.
Mary Ericson, senior policy adviser and FEMA grants manager for CSRS/Tillage Construction, said the $3.2 million figure is the total project budget, which includes the cost of designs by Chenevert Architects of Baton Rouge. The cost of construction will be substantially less and FEMA will reimburse 90 percent of that, but not until actual construction costs are clear.
“FEMA only reimburses what you spend,” she said.
Ericson said the repairs done to Lanier will be aimed at restoring it to its pre-flood condition.
Marcus Williams, program director with CSRS/Tillage, said there still needs to be an inspection of the Lanier site to make sure its mechanical system is in working order.
The other flooded Baton Rouge charter school awaiting full repairs is Democracy Prep. It was flooded from its home at the former Prescott Middle School, 4055 Prescott Road. Democracy Prep returned 13 months ago to one of the three main buildings at that 62-year-old facility, but the repairs await for the rest of the campus.
Domoine Rutledge, general counsel for the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, said he plans to meet with Democracy Prep officials next week to talk about the repairs to their school.
In other action Thursday, the board tentatively approved an agreement with BREC that would allow the recreation agency to open an under-repair track at Istrouma High School to the general public. In exchange, BREC would pay 25 percent of the project.
Rutledge said the project cost was originally estimated at $1 million, meaning BREC’s commitment would be $250,000. But the bids came in much lower, at about $650,000. Rutledge said school officials are talking with BREC asking them to continue with the $250,000 commitment, but that has not been finalized.