Demolition of Lee High nearing completion

Advocate staff photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK  -- Demolition work continues at Lee High School on Friday.
Advocate staff photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK -- Demolition work continues at Lee High School on Friday.

Demolition of Lee High School, built more than a half century ago, is nearing completion and construction of a new $58 million Lee on the same property is on track to start in early 2014, the program manager for East Baton Rouge parish school system’s construction program said Friday.

Gulf Services Contracting Inc., based in Mobile, Ala., began demolition in June, simultaneously removing asbestos and lead paint from the old school. Only a couple of smaller buildings are left to be torn down, said Earl Kern, with CSRS/Garrard Program Management.

Kern said Gulf Services is doing the work for almost $400,000 and will be done in August.

The next step is to move a handful of temporary classrooms still on the 1105 Lee Drive campus to other schools in need of additional space. Kern said that project budget is $1.25 million, but he said he’ll have a precise cost Tuesday when bids are due. He said those temporary classrooms will be moved early in the 2013-14 school year, which starts Aug. 12.

Both lanes of Lee Drive between Bayou Duplantier/Bennett Drive and Boone Drive have been closed since Thursday and will remain so until 3 p.m. Monday for unrelated sewer repairs. The city-parish is installing a new sewer main to reduce sewer overflows, with completion set for September.

Louisiana-based Grace & Hebert Architects has joined forces with the much larger Omaha-based firm, DLR Group, to design the new Lee High School. Bids are planned for this fall, with construction starting in January. This fall, Lee High students will begin a two-year hiatus from their historic home at the recently vacated campus of Valley Park Alternative School. Repairs are underway at that campus in advance of the arrival of Lee High students.