ST. FRANCISVILLE — Schematics for both the planned freshman academy and new elementary school will be available for public review by January, Marco Gonzales of Volkert Inc. told the West Feliciana School Board on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, following a closed-door meeting, the board unanimously agreed to renew Superintendent Hollis Milton's contract for four years.
“I am honored to serve the students, parents and community for another four years,” Milton said after the meeting. “I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
In May, voters approved a $52.6 million bond issue to pay for the freshman academy and new elementary school as well as improvements to West Feliciana High School.
The new elementary school, which will replace 56-year old Bains Elementary, is expected to cost $42 million; the new freshman academy is estimated at $6 million. Renovating the high school’s career and technical educational building should be $3 million, and the cost of overhauling the high school auditorium is estimated at $500,000.
In September, the board approved hiring Tipton Associates to do the architectural work for the high school, including the freshman academy, and Coleman Partners to design the new elementary school.
Since then, both firms have been working on designs and discussing them with school officials, Gonzales told the board.
Work is progressing steadily and is on track for the goal of seeking construction bids by summer, he said.
Gonzales said that he, along with others involved with the design work, recently visited Houston to gather inspiration for the design of the elementary school. Besides coming up with new ideas, the trip helped solidify some of the design elements they had already been discussing, he said.
School officials have also been considering making the new freshman academy the front of the high school, facing US 61.
The building will have 12 classrooms and contain an administrative area, making it “the true front of the school,” Gonzales said.
Moving the vocational and technical area into the old high school gymnasium and building a new gymnasium has also been discussed as an option rather than constructing a new vocational technical building.
School officials, along with the design firms, also have been studying traffic patterns around the proposed new buildings as well as the existing schools.
Making traffic flow work with both buses and other vehicles is a major concern, Gonzales said.
The building committee, which consists of board members Kelly O’Brien, Sara Wilson-Rogers and Scotty Owens, will meet on Jan. 9 to receive the presentations of the schematics from the architectural firms and will present their recommendations to the board at its next meeting on Jan. 21.
Public comment will be invited at both meetings.
In other business Tuesday, the board:
- Unanimously approved naming the West Feliciana Middle School library for Lloyd L. Lindsey, who was superintendent of West Feliciana Schools from 1992-2005 and oversaw the building of the middle school, and the West Feliciana High School auditorium for Wendell H. Hall. Hall served as superintendent from 1969-1988 and developed the vision for the high school campus. Both areas will be dedicated in May 2020 in conjunction with the middle school’s 20th anniversary.
- Put off until January final approval of the proposed 2020-21 school calendar. The state has not yet released its testing schedule, on which the school system’s spring break depends, Milton said.