School system will ask parish to take old Luling church off their hands


February 24, 2010 at 8:53 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The school system wants to sell the old Luling church, which it has owned since 1974.
Jonathan Menard
The school system wants to sell the old Luling church, which it has owned since 1974.
St. Charles Parish Public Schools will contact the parish to see if they have any interest in buying and preserving the former St. Anthony of Padua Church.

Since the school district bought the property in 1974 to use as a part of old Luling Elementary School, the building has been used as a kindergarten center, book depository, warehouse and carpentry shop.

From the beginning, the School Board’s efforts to sell the property have been towards getting the building into the hands of someone who will take care of it and preserve it, said Patrick O’Malley, the district’s administrator of ancillary services.

“We have been directed to make formal contact with the parish to see if there is an interest and the means for them to acquire that building from us and preserve the heritage and the culture of our parish,” O’Malley said. “That’s not our primary focus - our business is teaching and learning. We don’t have any interest in not preserving it, but at the same time our accountability to the public is education.”

The administration once again brought the idea to the board committee with price estimates for selling the property as-is and for selling it under the stipulation that the buyer restore and maintain the façade.

There was some controversy on the board over whether or not it is the school district’s responsibility to make sure the building is maintained once it’s sold.

Board member Mary Bergeron said that she personally thinks the board should make sure the building is maintained if possible.

“I do strongly believe that whatever happens with the property, it should be restored because it is a historic building and probably the most historic building in the town,” Bergeron said. “If it’s not the most significant, it is certainly one of the most significant buildings in town.”

Board member John Smith said that he thought it was the parish’s responsibility to preserve the building and asked that the parish be notified of the situation.




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