Permanent repairs made for three flood-damaged schools

LIVINGSTON, LA – Superintendent Rick Wentzel announced that permanent repairs to three campuses damaged by the August 2016 floods will be completed by the start of school on Aug. 9. Those campuses include Freshwater Elementary and Northside Elementary in Denham Springs, and Springfield High School.

Construction workers Raymond Nunnery, left, and Jess Prevost, right, install new wall cabinets in a classroom at Freshwater Elementary.  The district will complete restoration and repairs of the school, resulting from damage caused by the August 2016 flood, by the start of school on Aug. 9.

Construction workers Raymond Nunnery, left, and Jess Prevost, right, install new wall cabinets in a classroom at Freshwater Elementary. The district will complete restoration and repairs of the school, resulting from damage caused by the August 2016 flood, by the start of school on Aug. 9.

Five other campuses – Denham Springs High School, Denham Springs Freshman High, Denham Springs Junior High, Lewis Vincent Elementary and Seventh Ward Elementary, all in Denham Springs – have received much restoration work this summer, but those campuses will not be completely restored to their pre-flood status until the summer of 2018, he said.

“The time schedules for the full restoration of our schools is largely dependent upon our access to funding for those repairs,” Wentzel said. “The three campuses that will be fully restored by the end of this summer are not located in a flood zone, so we’ve been able to access FEMA funding for these repairs at a faster rate than we can for the others. But with that said, we are confident in the process, and we are working closely with state and federal officials to ensure that all our campuses are fully restored in a timely manner.”

Wentzel noted that school officials are still in negotiation with FEMA officials to determine an approved plan of action for restorations at Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High. All three Denham Springs schools remain closed after the floods, and have been housed in temporary campuses at off-site locations since January.

He said students attending those three campuses will once again report to the temporary campuses for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year.

Old Live Oak High back in commission as new junior high

The old Live Oak High school has been vacant and undergoing renovations since its students moved to the new LOHS two years ago. The campus will now be the new Live Oak Jr. high for 7th and 8th grade students in the community.

Significant renovations at the school had been underway, but the project suffered a setback when the Aug. 2016 floods hit and forces school officials to prioritized emergency repairs at other campuses.

The opening of Live Oak Jr.High creates some restructuring at other schools. Students going to 5th grade will join 6th graders at Live Oak Middle School, while the three area elementary schools – L. O. Elementary, North L.O. Elementary and South L.O. Elementary will house only students in grades pre-K to4th grade. These reconfigurations will help alieviate overcrowding.