Weather hampers Lafayette school construction projects

Weather slows work to ease overcrowding

The new classrooms slated for Green T. Lindon Elementary and Youngsville Middle schools may not be ready for students by the start of the school year in August — a casualty of an unusually frigid winter and strong rainstorms.

The two schools, both located in fast-growing Youngsville, face major overcrowding. At Lindon, the number of classes housed in portable buildings outside actually outnumbers classrooms inside the school.

Construction on projects to add new classroom space started last year with the goal of completing the first phases in time for the start of school in the fall.

“Our original plan to try to get the first phase of work done to move in when school starts is not looking too great unless it would stop raining and they could get all the work done this summer,” said Kyle Bordelon, Lafayette Parish School System facilities planning director.

A band of thunderstorms shut down work at the sites yet again on Tuesday.

The first phase of construction at Lindon involves three classroom buildings that will give the school 22 new classrooms, a new multi-purpose building and new administrative building.

Bordelon said it’s still possible the classrooms could be completed by August, but work on the other two buildings could continue after the start of school so the classroom move-in will have to wait until the other projects are complete.

“Students would have to walk next to a building that’s still under construction to get to the new classrooms and we’d rather wait until all the work is completed in phase one so there’s a safe path for the children,” Bordelon said.

In a second phase of construction at Lindon, work is set for another classroom building, an expansion of the cafeteria and a new faculty parking lot.

At Youngsville Middle, the contractor expects an 11-classroom expansion of the existing school building could be complete by August. But Bordelon said he isn’t optimistic the work will be finished by then because of recent rain delays.

The expansion project replaces 10 classrooms that are housed in portable buildings at the middle school.

“We’re waiting to pull those portable buildings and wait and see exactly how the work progresses there during the summer,” Bordelon said.

A second phase at Youngsville Middle involves another expansion for six or seven classrooms which will be constructed in areas where the school’s portable buildings sat.

The projects are part of a $30 million bond sale approved by the board in 2012 that includes nearly $9 million in construction and renovations at Lindon and about $5.4 million for the expansion and renovations at Youngsville Middle.

Other projects in the bond sale:

  • $9 million in work is ongoing at Thibodaux STEM Magnet Academy with phase one work to build an engineering lab and an additional parking area. Foundation work for a new science classroom wing has also started.
  • $2.1 million in renovations at Northside High for various projects, including fan coil replacement of units in the boys’ gym; a renovation of chemistry and science labs; new elevator and window installations; air-conditioning for gyms and locker rooms; and a privacy fence for the stadium.
  • $3 million for additions and renovations at L.J. Alleman Middle.
  • $2.3 million at Lafayette High for an addition to the band/chorus storage room that was completed last year and for restroom renovations.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.