Broussard council’s help sought for planned charter school

Developers of a new residential community plan to ask for the Broussard City Council’s help with infrastructure costs to secure a new charter school.

Ville de Cote Gelee is a 34-acre tract off Albertson Parkway to be developed into a 60-lot neighborhood with a few commercial properties.

National Heritage Academies has signed a letter of intent with the property’s developers to locate a K-8 school that would open in 2015, said Megan DeKraker, NHA director of new charter school development.

National Heritage has partnered with Louisiana Achievement Charter Academies to open two charter schools in Lafayette Parish. The first school, Willow Charter Academy, is set to open in August and will be located in north Lafayette in the vicinity of East Willow Street and Evangeline Thruway. The exact location of Willow Charter has not been announced.

The council’s support is needed to help with some infrastructure costs associated with drainage and roadwork needed on Albertson Parkway to accommodate the school planned for a 2015 opening, said Talbott Ottinger, who is developing the property with business partner Brady Mills.

The addition of the school to the development requires a larger retention pond.

“We’re requesting that the city assist with additional costs to accommodate some drainage issues,” Ottinger said. “In addition, we’ll request improvements along Alberstson Parkway. It’s a two-lane, so we want to add a turning lane and deceleration lane. The school won’t have busing, so we need to accommodate drop-off and pickup.”

Ottinger will make the requests to the council Tuesday. He said Friday that the estimated costs for the proposed projects are still being tallied.

“We’re very excited to bring a charter school to Broussard,” Ottinger said. “The city and mayor have been very supportive. We think that it will alleviate some overcrowding in the area and be a great complement to our development.”

The Lafayette Parish School Board rejected applications to open charter schools in the parish from Louisiana Achievement Charter Academies and another charter school group, Lafayette Charter Foundation in September 2013. Both groups appealed to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and received approval.

Meanwhile, National Heritage Academies is moving forward with plans for Willow Charter Academy. Two informational sessions about Willow Charter are scheduled at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Clifton Chenier Center.

Two more K-8 schools will open in August: Acadiana Renaissance Academy near Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville and Lafayette Renaissance Academy in north Lafayette in Couret Farms. Those two schools are managed by Charter Schools USA in partnership with the Lafayette Charter Foundation. Informational sessions for Lafayette Renaissance Academy are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 11, Feb. 20 and March 18 at the Ramada Lafayette Conference Center, 2032 NE Evangeline Thruway. Sessions for Acadiana Renaissance Academy are planned for 6 p.m. on the following dates: Feb. 18, Feb. 25 and March 11 at the Comeaux Recreation Center, 411 W. Bluebird Drive.