GONZALES — Two years after Ascension Parish voters dedicated $100 million to upgrade 22 public school campuses, the system is keeping pace with the 5-year, $20 million-per-year plan to spend the funds, the system budget shows.
The first $20 million was released in 2010 and the School Board is expected to vote to release a second $20 million installment at Tuesday night’s regular meeting, Business Services Director Diane Allison said. That money will be enough to fund projects planned through 2012, she said.
The 20-year bonds will be repaid through a parishwide 15-mill property tax.
Completed so far are $800,000 in restroom renovations, flooring and electrical upgrades to Donaldsonville High School and another $800,000 in restroom renovations to Galvez Primary School, said Chad Lynch, director of Planning and Construction director for the school system.
A $910,000 parking lot makeover and restroom renovations to Dutchtown Primary School are 95 percent complete and another $16 million in projects are under construction, Lynch said.
Restroom renovations are under way at Ascension Alternative; Galvez and St. Amant Middle schools; and St. Amant Primary, Lynch said.
An $8.2 million classroom addition is going up at Gonzales Primary School, Lynch said, and more classrooms are being added to St. Amant Middle and Primary schools.
Since the October 2009 bond initiative was approved, the Ascension Parish school system has either spent or made plans to spend nearly $44.5 million on building improvement projects, according to the 2011-2012 budget.
Lynch said another $10 million in projects are in the planning stages, including an $8 million campus-wide overhaul for Prairieville Middle School.
A portion of the capital projects spending came from the federal stimulus-funded Qualified School Construction Bond program, which will fund a $7.5 million portion of the $16 million tab to replace George Washington Carver Primary School, Allison said.
That project broke ground in September and construction should begin at the end of this month, Lynch said.