New Zachary school to open Jan. 22

First- and second-grade students in the Zachary Community School District are scheduled to begin classes Jan. 22 in a new, $18 million school, Rollins Place Elementary.

The 105,000-square-foot building shares a 69-acre tract at Rollins Place and East Central Avenue with the Zachary Early Learning Center, a school for pre-kindergarten students.

Workers are continuing an effort to get the building ready to welcome students on the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, Superintendent Scott Devillier said.

“Furniture began rolling in (Thursday) and some more will arrive Monday or Tuesday. By the end of next week, all of the furniture will be in place,” Devillier said.

Zachary’s first-grade students now attend classes at Northwestern Elementary School, which will become an all-kindergarten facility after the move.

Second-graders are now across town at Zachary Elementary, sharing space with the third grade.

Jennifer Marangos, who has been principal of Zachary Elementary, will serve as principal of the new school, while Copper Mill Elementary Principal Dewey Davis will take over at Zachary Elementary and Keisha Thomas will be principal at Copper Mill.

Devillier said district employees will move the teachers’ materials the weekend of Jan. 12-13 and during the following week. The district also must move and set up some 200 computers in the new setting.

“It’s a beautiful school, and we’re really excited,” Devillier said.

With 42 regular classrooms; other specialized, smaller classrooms; an indoor physical education area; a cafeteria with a stage; a library/media center; and music and art rooms, the school is designed for 500 or more students in each grade, Devillier said.

“It was built with the opportunity for growth,” he said.

The district now has about 400 students in the two grades, and growth during the past three years has been about 10 children per grade annually, Devillier said.

“If that stays the same, we should be good for 10 years,” he said.

When the second grade departs from Zachary Elementary School, the district will remove its temporary buildings to prepare for construction of a two-story classroom building and other improvements on the 39th Street campus.

The construction was funded by a $40 million bond issue that voters approved in 2010.