After spending more than two months at another middle school campus, Crestworth Middle School students will return to a much-improved campus at 10650 Avenue F on Monday.
The state-run Recovery School District assumed control of the middle school on July 1 and concluded later that month that it was in need of significant repairs that could not be completed in time for the first day of school. RSD officials also said they inherited thousands off dollars in unpaid bills left behind by the former charter school’s board of directors.
Crestworth’s 166 students, down from 373 last year, have spent the 2012-13 school year as far 4½ miles away at Glen Oaks Middle School.
“We are eager to begin receiving students again as we recognize the desire of the parents, students and the community to reconnect and commence with school activities in the Crestworth building,” Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard, said in a news release Monday. “We are confident that the work that has been done was necessary and will reduce the risk of hazards to children and lead to a high quality educational experience for all students.”
A fire inspection of the school on July 6 uncovered major problems with the middle school, which had been run for three years previously by a charter school group affiliated with Mt. Pilgrim Baptist church. These included broken exit doors that were chain-linked shut and a combination fire-and-smoke alarm system in disrepair
State Fire Marshal Butch Browning said Friday the problems have been fixed and the school passed its latest fire code inspection.
In addition to fixing code violations, RSD has installed 40 new computers. Other improvements include repainting the school, installing new carpet, improved school furniture and and a new resource room for parent, the news release states.
State Rep. Dalton Honoré, D-Baton Rouge, who lives across Avenue F from the middle school, said in an interview Friday that he learned of the move back on Oct. 8 in a phone call from an RSD official. He said workers have been busy for days trying to finish up the improvements.
“It’s looking better than it’s looked in a long time,” Honoré said.
Parents of students at the middle school learned about the return to Crestworth Middle in letters mailed out Wednesday and through automated phone messages sent out the same day, said Justin Blanchard, external affairs coordinator with RSD.
On the morning of Oct. 27, the RSD has scheduled a “Crestworth Beautification Day: Welcome Back” event and is inviting staff, parents, and community members to join in. For more information, contact at Veronica Sizer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 239-7500.