The St. Charles Parish School Board recently approved a motion to purchase 2.3 acres of the land in Luling adjacent to R.K Smith School for $250,000, $15,000 less that the original appraisal of the land. The school system has future plans to construct a brand new maintenance building at the site.
The building that formally housed the school system's maintenance crew, old Luling Elementary, was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, losing its roof and leaving only the first floor habitable. "After the insurance company surveyed the damage to Luling Elementary it was declared condemned and no longer useful to the maintenance staff," said Larry Sesser, Superintendent of Plant Services for St. Charles Parish Public Schools. “Since the building was declared condemned, the maintenance staff is currently being housed in rental trailers and a new facility is greatly needed.”
The land, owned by Judge Edward Dufrene, was appraised at $275,000. The board approached Dufrene and offered a purchase price of $225,000 for the land. That offer was denied, setting the full purchase price at $250,000, forcing the board to offer the asking price. Upon further consideration, Judge Dufrene agreed to sell the property to the school system for $250,000, agreeing to donate between $10,000 and $15,000 to the school system after the final sale of the property.
"I have several other lots for sale in that particular area. I decided to hold firm on the $250,000 asking price for the land to ensure the property value of the other lots," said Judge Edward Dufrene. He went on to say "I have had successful dealings with the school system in the past, offering up the land for R.K. Smith School. I wanted to help them out on the cost by donating money back to the school system without it affecting the asking price of the adjacent lots currently for sale."
The school system plans to purchase the land with the insurance settlement offered for the Luling Elementary building. In the next few weeks an attorney will be obtained to draw up the necessary documents for the purchase of the land. After collecting three bids for building contracts, the board will decide which company will construct the new facility. The entire endeavor will take a while to complete.