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|Construction, renovation projects on schedule at parish schools|
Summer construction and renovation projects at Ouachita Parish school system facilities are on schedule due to the dry weather.
That's according to Ken Slusher, safety and construction coordinator at Ouachita Parish Schools. He delivered his update Tuesday during the school board's regular meeting.
Ouachita Parish Schools is spending several millions of dollars this summer to renovate schools in eastern and western Ouachita Parish.
Two of the biggest projects are at West Monroe High School and West Ouachita High School.
The school system is spending roughly $2 million for an additional 10 classrooms at West Ouachita High School. At West Monroe High School, a $3-million project is underway to renovate the entire two-story front wing of the school.
Also, Slusher said the band and choir room at Ouachita Junior High School will be gutted and remodeled. That project will cost roughly $1.3 million.
Other projects scattered throughout the parish cost about $500,000, Slusher said.
Superintendent Dr. Bob Webber said the two new school projects at Richwood and Sterlington garner the most attention, but there are renovations projects happening at almost every parish school.
"Those are the two biggest projects … we're talking about $25 million total," Webber said. "But we have ongoing renovation projects at West Monroe High School, West Ouachita High School and Pinecrest, Kiroli, Claiborne, Crosley, and Woodlawn all have projects in process."
"On the east side we have renovations at Ouachita Junior and Ouachita High, Jack Hayes, Lakeshore … pretty much all the schools on the east side are being renovated as well," Webber said. "So, we will have some really fine schools in a couple of years, with every school in the district being renovated."
"We feel real good about our facilities," he said. "We feel like we have some of the best in the state."
Money to renovate eastern Ouachita Parish schools is derived from a property tax extension approved by eastern Ouachita voters last year. That property tax extension provided the school system with $39 million for construction of the new Sterlington and Richwood schools as well as the renovation projects at existing schools.
Renovation projects at western Ouachita schools are being funded by the sales tax approved years ago by western Ouachita voters.
Slusher expects all construction projects but a few to be ready by the time school starts in August.