Baker High to get major improvements

The Baker School Board voted Thursday to earmark $4.8 million of its reserve cash for extensive renovations at Baker High School.

The board delayed final approval of lighting upgrades for its other four schools, although it authorized a company to design the improvements.

The board discussed the projects Tuesday night but could not take action because the meeting was described as a “work session.”

Superintendent Ulysses Joseph, answering board member Troy Watson’s question, said the board had about $9.8 million in reserves when the fiscal year began July 1, according to audited figures.

“So we’re using half of it?” Watson asked.

In connection with the project, the board voted to amend a contract with Volkert Inc., adding $230,000 to manage the high school project and appointed Coleman Partners as the project architect at an estimated fee of $304,800.

Baker High has not had any major renovations since the board took over the campus from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system in 2003.

The projects include:

  • Football stadium renovations with construction scheduled to begin in April.
  • Window replacements in six buildings with the work planned during the summer.
  • Roof repairs as needed.
  • A structural assessment of the entire school and possible drainage recommendations.
  • Renovation of the McConnell Auditorium, including asbestos abatement.
  • New lighting installed during the summer.
  • Security and intercom upgrades.
  • Exterior door replacements.
  • Exterior painting and pavement repairs.

The board agreed to pay an estimated $94,300 to MEL Inc. for designing lighting improvements at Baker Middle, Park Ridge Academic Magnet, Bakerfield Elementary and Baker Heights Elementary schools, but board members Dana Carpenter and Elaine Davis pushed for a delay in proceeding with the work until after July 1.

Carpenter said the capital outlay fund, from which improvements are done, has been obligated to pay for driveway improvements at two schools and heating and air conditioning repairs at the middle school.

The board also tabled adding $100,000 to Volkert’s contract for overseeing the lighting work at the other four schools.