The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board agreed Thursday to seek bids for almost $16 million worth of flood-related repairs to five schools, including Glen Oaks High School, as well as repairs to an administrative center.
The six repair projects are scheduled to start in late spring and finish in time for the start of the 2017-18 school year in August. The buildings the School Board approved for full repairs are Glen Oaks Park and Park Forest elementaries, Park Forest Middle and the school system’s Professional Development Center.
Glen Oaks High and Greenbrier Elementary are slated to receive just temporary repairs for now. The School Board has yet to vote on permanent repairs for four more flooded schools: Howell Park and Lanier elementaries, as well as Brookstown and Prescott middle schools.
Twin Oaks Elementary, which reopened in October, is the only flooded Baton Rouge public school fully repaired and reopened.
The work on Glen Oaks High is the most expensive of the bunch — estimated at $6 million — but that's only partial work.
The cost of repairing flooded schools in Baton Rouge is estimated at more than $62.5 million…
Of the 17 buildings on the campus at 6650 Cedar Grove Drive, all but the gym and the theater flooded. Of the 15 flooded buildings, the plan is to repair five of them while at the same time installing a handful of temporary buildings. The goal is to do just enough to allow students to return in the short time frame between now and August.
A second and final phase of work on Glen Oaks High would come later, but those details are still being worked out. After phase one is complete, the school will still have 10 damaged buildings that school officials will have to decide whether to repair, replace or demolish.
Superintendent Warren Drake said he won’t rebuild the high school as big as it was before.
“The current population of that school is about 600, but it was built for 1,200,” said Drake. “We will right-size the school when the permanent repairs are made.”
Daniel Banguel, who ran unsuccessfully for School Board in 2014 and has remained active in school issues, questioned that move. He noted other Baton Rouge public schools are larger than their current enrollment.
“Why don’t we replace all the buildings that are already there (at Glen Oaks)?" Banguel said.
Since the flood six months ago, Glen Oaks High students have spent their days six miles southeast on the campus of Northdale Superintendent’s Academy. Athletes and band members, however, routinely return to Cedar Grove Drive to practice after school in the gym and theater.
Public schools throughout East Baton Rouge Parish are racing to get the 2016-17 school year …
On Thursday, the Glen Oaks High campus was a ghost town. The flooded buildings had long been gutted and the mold removed. The grounds looked pristine and the power was on throughout the campus, but no one was around and a fence blocked most access onto the campus. Only the gym was active as longtime Boys Basketball Coach Harvey Adger drilled his Panthers for Friday night's game.
Adger starts and ends his day at the school he’s worked at for decades. He parks his truck each morning in the parking lot off Cedar Grove Drive about 5:30 a.m. and then catches a bus to Northdale. He does that so when he returns each afternoon for basketball practice, his truck will be waiting for him.
The campus still comes alive on game nights. Adger said he’s gratified to see crowds filling the gym.
“They’re still supporting us,” Adger said.
Greenbrier Elementary School’s future is also in flux.
Since the flood, the students and faculty have been sharing space with Broadmoor Middle School. Rather than moving them back to 12203 Canterbury Drive, the school system agreed Thursday to seek bids for the installing several temporary buildings at Broadmoor Middle. The estimated cost is $839,000.
Permanent repairs to the Greenbrier campus, however, won’t be complete until at least fall 2018, owing to the severity of the damage there, and the work will cost several million dollars.
School Board member Dawn Collins, who represents that area, said she plans to hold a meeting soon with Greenbrier parents to talk through what’s going to happen.
“It’s a little discouraging to them that they will be getting their school back not this year, but the year after next,” Collins said.