LUTCHER — The St. James Parish School Board voted Friday morning to authorize a traffic study on the 54-acre tract designated as the future site of St. James High School.
All board members except Patricia Schexnayder, who was absent from the special meeting, voted in favor of the motion, which also authorized Central Office staff to apply for necessary permits from the St. James Parish Council.
The district signed a $1 million purchase agreement for the site, located near La. 20 and La. 3127 in North Vacherie.
The traffic study must be done while school is in session, Board Vice President George Nassar Jr. said, so the process has to start soon.
The site decision has attracted negative attention from some residents of the 5th District, where the current
St. James High School is located. The new site is located several miles away, in the 6th District.
The board also approved a low bid of $1,264,483 to from Paragon Sports to install an artificial turf system at Lutcher High School stadium, and artificial turf material for St. James High’s stadium. Board member Diana Cantillo, who represents District 1, cast the sole no vote, saying she was respecting the wishes of her constituents, most of who objected.
Proponents of the artificial system, including Nassar, said the turf will allow more frequent use of the field, regardless of rainfall. Drainage will have to be upgraded at Lutcher High, as part of the project, he said.
The system will be able to accommodate up to four inches of rain an hour and be ready for use again as soon as the rain stops.
The expected life of the turf is about 8 to 10 years, and will need to be “groomed” with every 30 hours of use — about once a month — with a special machine that is included as part of the bid price, Nassar said.
The board also accepted low bids from Paramount Metal Systems for metal roofing for Gramercy and Sixth Ward Elementary schools for $1,447,400. Nassar said FEMA will reimburse the district for a portion of that amount.
Copyright © 2011, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved