Ask the Advocate

Question: Can you find out if the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board’s upgrade of Polk Elementary includes a new playground? Students and parents have long been asking for one, but it seems they are not worthy enough for one. Shame on the board to allow the children at Polk and other minority schools to have this.

Answer: The short answer is maybe.

On Dec. 19, the School Board approved $3.1 million to install new windows as well as upgrade the heating and air conditioning at Polk Elementary School and expand those systems to the kitchen, dining room, gym and to a multi-purpose area.

Keith Bromery, spokesman for the parish school system, said school officials hope to do more, but it depends on how much that work costs.

“Depending on how the bids come in on April 8, 2014, there will be as many alternates added as budget dollars will allow,” Bromery said. “Some of these are: more security cameras, distance learning feature in the multi-purpose area, playground, signage and landscaping, parking lot access, and a buzz-in system at front door.”

What are the two large circular white tanks on the west side of the river in Port Allen near the bridge?

According the port’s executive director, Jay Hardman, the two white, 120-foot-tall bulk storage facilities belong to one of its newest business partners, Baton Rouge Transit, LLC. The facilities will store biomass material produced locally in the form of wood pellets, which will be shipped from the port to overseas markets to be used as a clean and renewable power resource. Hardman said the two new facilities represent a substantial investment on the part of the company, supporting nearly 120 construction jobs and potentially leading to a significant increase in ships calling at the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.