Restoration, repairs to school buildings continue

By Cyndi Sellers

Restoration and repairs to School Board buildings continues, with a bid being awarded on Tuesday for repairs to the South Cameron High School main building. Garden City Construction Company, of Lafayette, was the low bidder at $4,380,000 for the repairs, which include main building roof repairs along with roof repairs to the bus canopy, repair or replacement of all three elevators, stairwell rebuild, aluminum ramp repair, masonry repair of concrete entry stairs, and numerous other items. Work is estimated to take 150 days.

Notice to proceed on the demolition of the gyms will be issued May 17. Sometime next year a new gym complex will be constructed on the same footprint.

South Cameron was the most damaged school in the parish, having been in the direct path of the worst of Hurricane Laura’s storm surge and wind field. The surge at Oak Grove was measured at just over 20 feet. After Hurricane Rita, the new SCHS was built at 20′ elevation, two feet higher than FEMA required or would pay for. The School Board paid for the extra two feet, and the building was saved from extensive flooding during Laura’s surge. Students were able to return to all four Cameron Parish school campuses within a few months of Hurricane Laura.

At the School Board meeting Monday evening, Project Manager James Hoffpauir reported that additional repairs to the SCHS campus will go out for bid in June, including repairs to the athletic field, track and stadium, playgrounds, fencing, greenhouse replacement and any additional repairs as coordinated with the principal and school maintenance. Administration building repairs, Phase I, will go out for bid in mid-May to repair and secure the first floor.

Other projects going out for bid in June or July include miscellaneous repairs at Grand Lake High School campus, Johnson Bayou High School Phase II repairs (outdoor gym, concession building, fencing, etc.), and Administration Building Phase II repairs. Repair of the Hackberry High School Vo-Ag building is on hold, as the cost estimate was over 51 percent of the building’s value.

Other Business

At Monday’s meeting, the School Board voted to increase the school allocation for Grand Lake High School due to extra away games for coaches to attend. However, only one administrator will be given a mileage allowance for away games going forward, said Supt. Charley Lemons. All schools’ allocation budgets will be evaluated at the end of the school year to see if changes need to be made.

Supt. Lemons asked for approval to hire 282.5 employees for the upcoming school year, down from the 287 requested last year. The number currently stands at 285. Lemons said he thinks the number of employees can be further reduced through attrition to 275-276.

The date of the June meeting was changed to June 7 because of scheduling conflicts.