Green T. Lindon Park expansion set to begin

The long anticipated work to expand Youngsville’s Green T. Lindon Elementary with the construction of new classrooms to replace portable buildings will begin in the next few weeks.

Last week, the Lafayette Parish School Board awarded the $8.4 million construction project to Rudick Construction Co. The overdue expansion involves four, new classroom wings — each with eight classrooms — a larger cafeteria and new administrative offices.

Signs of growth on the campus can be charted by the number of portable buildings creeping into the elementary school’s playground space.

For the past few years, the number of portable classrooms has outnumbered the classrooms in the main school building.

The new buildings will be constructed in phases to accommodate school operations for the remainder of the school year.

The new buildings will take up the school’s playground space — creating a need for a new playground. The school system planned to use about five acres in the adjacent Foster Play as a play area.

Last year, Young’s Industries, a development company that owns the 16-acre park, offered to donate it to Youngsville if the city donated about five acres of the park closest to Lindon Elementary to the School Board.

That plan hit a wall when the park’s tenant, Lafayette Consolidated Government, twice rejected an ordinance that would have transferred its lease to Youngsville.

Some council members cited concern that a local athletic group’s continual use of the park wasn’t guaranteed in the ordinance.

A revision of the ordinance considered by the Parish Council Nov. 5 would have allowed the Broussard Youngsville Youth Association use of the park as long as Broussard and Youngsville remained part of the association.

The council killed the ordinance.

The city-parish’s 50-year lease of the property ends in March 2025.

Despite the council’s rejection of the ordinances, students will likely still have their play space on Foster Park property, Superintendent Pat Cooper told the School Board.

Cooper said the school system could work out an agreement with the city-parish for use of the property.

The additional play space is needed to ensure students’ have a recreational area during and after construction, school officials have said.

Lafayette Consolidated Government Parks and Recreation Director Gerald Boudreaux could not be reached for comment Monday.

At its Nov. 6 meeting, the School Board approved Rudick Construction as the lowest bidder with a bid of $8,464,000. The board received two other bids for the project: Percy J. Matherne Contractor Inc. at $8,535,000 and Core Construction Services at $8.574,000.

The design for the construction project faced criticism from board member Rae Trahan because the four classroom buildings are connected with covered, exterior walkways rather than interior walkways.

Trahan said connecting the buildings through interior walkways would have ensured that students weren’t exposed to the weather when leaving their classroom building to go to the office, cafeteria or other parts of the campus.

The project was designed within the district’s budget and making any changes would push the project back, threatening an August completion in time for the start of the school year, project architect Kirby Pècot told Trahan.

Trahan said the board should have been consulted on the design before it was finalized and put out to bid. She requested that the board consider policy that gives board members some oversight in project design phases.