Construction crews are dismantling the Bethany Christian School on Bethany Church property and relocating the building and its playground to make way for a proposed South Baton Rouge Distribution Center being built by a developer with ties to Amazon.
The relocation to a site closer to Industriplex puts the elementary school closer to its mother day program, Bethany officials said. The church expects to get rid of some older buildings on the property to make room for the school building relocation, expected to take several weeks.
Bethany Christian School opened in 1976 and offers religious education from kindergarten to 6th grade, according to its website.
The 111,918-square-foot distribution center is proposed by Atlanta-based developer Seefried Industrial Properties, which built three warehouses for Amazon.com in 2019.
The distribution center, near Fieldstone Drive and Honore Lane, would include office space, storage, van parking and room for 18-wheelers, documents show. The Industriplex project plans include 234 employee parking spots, 12 bicycle parking spots, 712 delivery van parking spots and 18 parking spots for 18-wheeler trucks. Plans include a truck dock for up to 16 tractor trailers.
Amazon typically builds two types of buildings in markets where it seeks to offer faster shipping to customers. One is a fulfillment center and the other is a distribution center, also known as a delivery station.
Fulfillment centers are typically 1 million-square-foot warehouses with hundreds of employees; some have robotic assistance for workers to fulfill online orders. There are more than 175 fulfillment centers across the world, according to its website.
Distribution centers are typically smaller in size and in some markets there is more than one distribution center, which enables the logistics business to deliver products to customers faster than two-day shipping.
Fulfillment centers feed to regional sort centers and then delivery stations or distribution centers.
Amazon, a major online retailer that has expanded rapidly in recent years, already operates a 21,000-square-foot tent structure on land it leased in 2018 off Airline Highway near the Costco at Interstate 12. The structure, installed about a year ago, has been duplicated in several cities around the country, many with the stipulation they are temporary and to be used for a maximum two years.
The company posted a job for an Amazon Delivery Station Operations Manager in Baton Rouge recently. It says that the delivery station is open 24-hours and is considered the "last leg of our delivery network."
Amazon already operates a distribution center in New Orleans, along Bloomfield Street near South Clearview Parkway.
Amazon could not be immediately reached for comment. The company has previously declined any detailed comment about any plans for Baton Rouge.
This story has been updated to accurately reflect the church's school operations.
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