Vandals hit old Live Oak High field house in Watson

Advocate staff photo by HEIDI KINCHEN -- Damage caused by vandals that was discovered at the old Live Oak High School field house Tuesday includes residue from expended fire extinguishers on the locker room floor and spray paint, which also adorns the lockers.
Advocate staff photo by HEIDI KINCHEN -- Damage caused by vandals that was discovered at the old Live Oak High School field house Tuesday includes residue from expended fire extinguishers on the locker room floor and spray paint, which also adorns the lockers.

Vandals broke into the old Live Oak High School football field house early Tuesday morning, emptied the fire extinguishers, broke the fire alarms and set a fire in the coach’s office, officials said.

The fire did not spread to other areas of the building.

Other damage included shattered glass, ripped-up carpet, spray-painted walls and lockers, and damaged computers and other technological equipment in the offices and team meeting room.

Two rooms in the main school building also were damaged, said Lori Steele, spokeswoman for the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Damage was estimated at $25,000 to $30,000, Steele said.

Livingston Parish School Board member Kellee Hennessy Dickerson, who represents the Watson area, said a reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

“The reward will be at least $1,000, but other people in the community are calling, wanting to chip in,” Dickerson said Tuesday afternoon. “The community is outraged over this.”

Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward, separate and independent of Dickerson’s, Steele said.

The old high school campus off Springfield Road has been virtually empty since the new Live Oak High School on La. 16 opened to students in December. The old campus will become home to the middle school, serving students in seventh and eighth grades.

Shane Wells, head football coach for Live Oak Middle School, said the field house was in need of some “fixing up” before the vandalism, but the extensive damage will set back any renovations.

“We’ll get it done,” Wells said. “It’ll take us a little longer, but we’ll get there.”

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at (225) 686-2241, Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP or Dickerson at (225) 664-9099.