Hurricane Katrina submerged not only the city of New Orleans beneath flood waters but surrounding cities and parishes suffered major damage as well. In St. Charles Parish, west of New Orleans, Katrina damaged the maintenance building of the St. Charles Parish Schools.
Constructed in 1931, the two-story building is a brick veneer, concrete slab on grade with a one-story wing addition. The total area for the entire structure is 12,200 square feet. Today, the building is one step closer to functioning with recently obligated funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
When projects are obligated by FEMA, the funds are transferred to a Smartlink account. This allows the state to work with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness as quickly as possible to access the monies and distribute them to the local applicants. The state may require additional documentation from the applicant before disbursals are made.
Sesser said the new maintenance building will be more centrally located and better suited for maintenance operations.
“The old maintenance building was housed in an old school building in a residential area,” said Sesser. “The new building will be a little larger and designed for our operations. There was a process we had to go through, but I have been pleased with the cooperation we have had with FEMA.”
Damage to the support joists and framing compromised the structural integrity of the building. Due to the large amount of damage, the entire facility needed to be replaced. The $2.4 million in federal funds recently obligated will reimburse the St. Charles Parish Public Schools for this work, including replacement of the roof, ceilings, walls, doors, windows, floors, wooden stairs and all electrical and mechanical systems.