Acadiana briefs for Wednesday, May 1, 2013

UL System OKs
phase of ULL plan

Planning and construction for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s $115 million athletic facilities master plan will move forward after the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors gave its initial authorization to proceed with the first tier of the plan Tuesday.

The approval gives the university permission to move ahead with the bid process for construction of the three projects in the plan’s top tier.

“The implementation of this plan will give Ragin’ Cajuns athletics the facilities that they need to continue to grow for years to come. I am excited that the system’s board of supervisors shares and approves of our vision,” ULL Athletic Director Scott Farmer said in a news release.

The top tier of facility priorities include improvements to the soccer and track facility, seating and amenity expansion in the south end of Cajun Field, and the new Athletics Practice Facility, which will be built adjacent to the Leon Moncla Indoor Practice Facility and the football practice fields.

Approval from the UL board allows athletics to request construction bids and finalize financing for the top tier projects.

Cooper’s evaluation
to be discussed

The Lafayette Parish School Board could set a date for Superintendent Pat Cooper’s annual evaluation at its 5:30 p.m. Wednesday meeting, according to an addition to the agenda made Tuesday by School Board member Tehmi Chassion.

Chassion said his agenda item is related to discussion of a timeline for Cooper’s annual evaluation and the superintendent will not be evaluated Wednesday. Cooper began the job full-time in February 2012, though he worked part-time throughout January 2012.

Act 1 of the 2012 Legislative Session, which took effect in July, requires superintendent contracts of districts with a state accountability rating of C or lower to include performance targets related to student achievement, graduation rates and teacher performance. Lafayette Parish was labeled a C district at the time the law took effect. After the law took effect, the district’s performance score improved to a B.

Principal, staff plan
parents visit Friday

Acadian Middle School Principal Linda Nance and her staff will make home visits to students living in Holy Family Apartments on Friday after school to make parents aware of changes in the upcoming school year, according to a Lafayette Parish school system news release.

The School Board approved a reconstitution or restaffing of the school last month as part of Nance’s recommendation to improve student performance.

Her proposal also included the use of a team teaching model that would enable a group or team of teachers to work together with the same set of students.

Nance and school staff will also explain upcoming curriculum changes mandated by the state and answer questions.

Mother enters plea
in child’s death

A Lafayette mother has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the death of her 3-year-old son.

Laura Smith, 22, waived formal arraignment and entered her plea last week at the Lafayette Parish Courthouse.

A grand jury earlier this month indicted Smith on a charge of second-degree cruelty to a child in the Nov. 29 beating death of her son, Julian Madera.

Smith’s then-boyfriend, 21-year-old Landon Broussard, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of the child, who died of severe blunt force trauma to the head, face and neck.

Prosecutors have indicated they will seek the death penalty against Broussard.

Flood warning issued
for Atchafalaya River

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for the Atchafalaya River at Morgan City. The U.S. Coast Guard says some tows could be limited.

The river was 4.6 feet and rising at Morgan City on Monday. Flood stage is 4 feet. The Weather Service says minor flooding is occurring and forecast.

At 5 feet, floodwall gates will be closed. Captain of the Port J.C. Burton says that’s also the depth at which some tows will be limited to a maximum length of 600 feet.

Burton said facilities with barge fleets should review mooring configurations and those that store or transport hazardous materials or petroleum products should make sure potential pollution sources are secured or removed.

Burton said the river is expected to reach 5.5 feet May 12.

Compiled from reports by the Acadiana bureau and The Associated Press.