Busy year underway for school district, several projects planned

Rendering of planned renovation of Destrehan baseball field.

John Rome perhaps summed it up best when it comes to what is on the way for St. Charles Parish Public Schools in 2024.

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re going backwards,” said Rome, the district’s chief plant services and security officer.

It’s going to be a very busy year for Rome and others behind putting district projects into action. Numerous upgrades, additions and renovations are planned or are going into planning stages for the parish’s public schools this year. The majority of these projects are funded by and are part of the 2022 bond issue and the district’s long range plan for physical education and athletics facility upgrades.

These will come on the heels of the completion of all Hurricane Ida restoration projects, which officially wrapped up in December.

This summer, plans are to renovate the baseball and softball fields at Hahnville and Destrehan high schools by adding turf following the completion of those seasons this school year. The turf will encompass both the infield and the outfield, and the outlook is that it will lend multi-purpose utility to each.

“By turfing the whole field, that allows use for P.E., band, cheerleaders, dance team, soccer … all those other sports or clubs when the main (football) field is already in use. It can be used as an auxiliary field.”

Track and fitness stations will be added to each of the parish’s elementary schools – the design phase for that project begins this summer. Not to be left out, each middle school will have a new auxiliary gym constructed on site – the design phase for those projects will begin this summer as well – each will serve as a secondary gym with playing surfaces for basketball and volleyball. Like the high school fields noted before, this will allow relief and added space for the many teams and clubs competing for indoor practice and meeting space.

Rendering of planned renovations to Hahnville softball field.

There will be district-wide safety upgrades on surveillance system cameras at each of the parish’s school sites, as well as impact-resistant glass added to each school’s front entry vestibules among other measures. That $2.2 million safety upgrade project is currently underway.

The 2022 bond issue created the funding for renovations that are set to begin this summer at Hahnville High School, with the library, digital media space and commons area ready for upgrades. That work will be similar to the renovations that took place at Destrehan High, planned work that was accelerated due to Hurricane Ida damage.

New gym flooring has been added at Albert Cammon Middle School, and by the end of the month the same will be in place at R.K. Smith Middle School. At Harry Hurst Middle, retractable bleachers will be added this summer – once that is done, each of the parish’s schools will have those in place as Hurst is the last without it.

Pending school board approval, the addition of an elevator to J.B. Martin and an elevator replacement at Harry Hurst is on the docket.

Renovation and expansion of wings B, C and D at Luling Elementary is planned, similar to what has taken place at Norco Elementary and Mimosa Park recently. New tile floors, lighting, restrooms, ceiling tiles and technology will be among the additions.

“(All three schools) were built in the 50s and 60s … kudos to the board and administration and the taxpayers for their support and allowing us to upkeep, because these buildings are easy to build but difficult to maintain,” Rome said.

The start of design on that project begins this summer with work to begin in the summer of 2025.

Career and technical facility upgrades and expansion are planned as well at HHS, DHS and the Satellite Center.

“It’s going to be a busy year,” Rome said.

 

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