Iberia moves forward with school improvements

Project progress

Work is about to get underway for the first phase of $50 million in school improvement projects Iberia Parish voters approved in October, school officials said.

Last week, the Iberia Parish School Board approved the sale of $6.3 million in bonds, which enables the district to move forward on three major construction priorities.

The major projects include construction of a new auditorium for Jeanerette High School and new stadiums for Westgate High and New Iberia Senior High, Iberia Parish Schools Superintendent Dale Henderson said.

The two high schools share use of Lloyd G. Porter stadium on Bank Avenue behind the former New Iberia Senior High.

The initial bond sale will also jumpstart the purchase and installation of video surveillance cameras for every elementary school in the district.

Another $9.8 million in bonds are to be sold by March 2014 and will fund the continuation of the projects and more construction work through 2014, Henderson said.

The projects for 2014 include construction at Loreauville High School to expand its junior high wing with six new classrooms, a computer lab and teacher workroom, Henderson said.

Future bond sales will be timed for sale as the district needs additional funds to continue projects, he said.

In October, voters approved renewal of a 21.9-mill property tax to be used to fund $50 million in projects over the next four years, including a $13 million elementary school planned for the northside of the parish. A timeline or location for the elementary school has not been selected, Henderson said.

The list of projects includes work scheduled for every school in the parish. The projects range from the small, such as $39,000 for additional storage at one of the district’s newer schools, Johnston-Hopkins Elementary, to $4.4 million for stadium construction and upgrades to New Iberia Senior High.

The bond program also will pay for $5 million in districtwide technology upgrades, $1 million of which will be spent in 2014 to prepare the district for online state testing requirements.

To view the full list of bond projects, visit: http://www.iberia.k12.la.us.

In 2009, voters approved a $60 million bond package, which included construction of two new elementary schools and support services buildings, major security upgrades on campuses and other repairs.