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Work continues in the quadrangle where a building used to stand as a group of EBR School Board members, staff, prinicipal and school staff visited Glen Oaks High to assess the progress of renovations after the 2016 flood.

Sixteen months after voters approved 10 years worth of school construction and improvement projects, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board on Thursday started moving on two of three big projects: the $25.2 million to rebuild University Terrace Elementary and $7 million worth of work at Glen Oaks High.

The board voted unanimously Thursday to start looking for an architect for the University Terrace project and to allow bids to be prepared on the Glen Oaks work. The board is expected to ratify those moves at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Also on Thursday, the board was fine with letting Superintendent Warren Drake begin talks with the developers of the Rouzan development about digging a shallow detention pond at the rear of the 14.2-acre Glasgow Middle School campus, a pond that would improve drainage in the area but also possibly double as a soccer field when not full of water. The board is expected to approve the talks on Sept. 19 as well. The board would still have to approve the actual designs of the proposed detention pond before it could be dug.

Glasgow Middle is also part of the 10-year construction plan, known as the Tax Plan, which parish voters approved on April 28, 2018 when they renewed a 1-cent sales tax earmarked for education. The sales tax was first approved in 1998 and has been renewed three times since.

Glen Oaks High, University Terrace and Broadmoor Middle are the first three of 22 named projects in the latest Tax Plan, all scheduled to start next year. Rebuilding Glasgow Middle, estimated at $30.2 million, is not scheduled to start until 2026 at earliest.

University Terrace is slated to merge with Buchanan Elementary, also near the north gates of LSU. Both buildings would be torn down, but only University Terrace would be rebuilt. The Buchanan property would be added to neighboring McKinley High, which is in line for a $35 million remodeling starting in 2023. The new $25.2 million University Terrace is scheduled to be completed by fall 2022.

First the new elementary school needs to be designed. Thursday’s vote, if ratified Sept. 19, allows the school system to solicit proposals and convene a selection committee with the goal of having an architect on board by December.

Glen Oaks High flooded in August 2016 and has already undergone $16 million worth of repairs and improvements. The new work, worth another $7 million, is largely centered around athletics, including work on an auxiliary gym, a training room, locker rooms, a new track and new field lighting. Bids are scheduled to be issued in the spring. Construction would start soon after and the improvements are to be complete by January 2021.

Marcus Williams, program director with CSRS/Tillage Construction, the private partnership that oversees most school construction in Baton Rouge, said the scope of work is still a work in progress.

A couple of board members pressed Williams to do something to fix a portion of the high school campus that they say needs a covered walkway. Williams said he’s looking at that, but it would cost half a million dollars and something else might need to be changed to fit it in.

The proposed new detention pond at Glasgow Middle, if approved, would be dug within the next year.

Charles Landry, a Baton Rouge attorney and business partner in the Rouzan development, on Thursday said the new detention pond is part of an effort to increase drainage protection in the area to a 100-year flood protection level. He said the development is required by the parish to protect against a 10-year flood event but he and his partners have already gone beyond the minimum.

“We have done more to improve the drainage than anybody can imagine,” Landry said.

The pond would be dug on three or four unused acres at the rear of Glasgow Middle, but its dimensions are subject to negotiation. The developers say they will dig the pond at their expense if the school system grants them a servitude to the public property.

No one on Thursday suggested requiring the developers pay for the servitude. Glasgow Middle Principal Erin Howard reminded the board that there’s a levee on the property, built after flooding 15 years ago, that needs to be incorporated into the plan.

Landry said if they can’t agree, he and his partners plan to dig a pond somewhere on the Rouzan property.

Board member Evelyn Ware-Jackson applauded the proposal, saying it’s part of a laudable by the developers to connect the development with various public services.

“It’s a great example of the way things should be done all over town,” she said.

Email Charles Lussier at and follow him on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.