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Schools. Choice. With expansion plans underway at both public and private schools in the Lafayette area, the choices for parents and students have never been greater.

by Erin Z. Bass

With expansion plans underway at both public and private schools in the Lafayette area, the choices for parents and students have never been greater.

As Acadiana area schools prepare for parent teacher conferences, rival football games and the Thanksgiving holidays, many are making high-dollar improvements to their facilities and opening their doors to welcome new students and parents.

At Academy of the Sacred Heart and Berchmans in Grand Coteau, new Head of School Dr. Yvonne Sandoz Adler is overseeing a capital

campaign that includes a new covered arena for the equestrian program and a new science building with a robotics lab. A festive time to visit these boys and girls schools is during Christmas at Coteau when the lower school students sing carols and a holiday market is set up on the grounds.

Students at Episcopal School of Acadiana will be able to enjoy a new Enrichment Center on the Lafayette campus come January. The center will be used for special events related to drama, art, music and technology, as well as library and chapel space. Preview Days are a great way for prospective parents and students to experience a day in the life at ESA. Scheduled sessions begin with a short presentation about the school’s mission, curriculum and history, followed by a tour featuring classroom visits.

St. Genevieve Catholic School is building a $2.5-million cafetorium for its middle school campus, expected to be complete in January. The best way to get a feel for this school is through private tours, and parents can also get help with a new online application process in the computer lab during the month of January.

Sts. Leo-Seton Catholic School—where scholars strive and champions play—upgraded its bathroom facilities in the main building over the summer and is preparing for an open house with tours in November.

Technology is integral to the instructional program at St. Thomas More. The 1:1 tablet program was recently implemented to integrate technology into the curriculum in order to prepare students for college and the workplace. Phase one of the school’s master plan included a new softball complex, which was completed in May. Six tennis courts are also near completion, and a new classroom wing is expected to be finished by May 2017.

At Cathedral-Carmel, construction of Cathedral Hall is under way and expected to be complete in January. The new hall will be a multi-functional facility with the capability of dividing into five separate rooms. The 9,950-square-foot space is estimated to cost $3.5 million and will host parish and diocesan gatherings, receptions, school functions and community events. A Fine Arts Center is also part of the school’s capital campaign and will include four new classrooms for music, drama, art and band.

With 42 schools under its umbrella, Lafayette Parish School System will add one more with its newest public high school for freshmen and sophomores. Construction is progressing on Southside High in Youngsville, which has an expected opening date of August 2017. The $62.5-million school will house the Lafayette Online Academy, open to students in kindergarten through 12th grades, and is creating a one-to-one studentto-device environment.

Southside High represents the first new high school in over 50 years for LPSS and is a decade in the making. “Think all the way back to that era,” says Superintendent Dr. Donald Aguillard. “We were building classrooms with two to three electrical outlets and chalkboards. Today, we’re looking at a whole new design for instruction with a focus on collaborative spaces. Southside is meant to really relax the stress that we now have on our existing high schools in the district and will afford us the opportunity to grow seats available for high school students.”

Important School Dates


Ascension Episcopal School Admissions open houses will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Nov. 7 in River Ranch, Nov. 8 downtown and Nov. 9 at Sugar Mill Pond. Applications available at

Cathedral-Carmel Registration began Oct. 12. More info at

LPSS Fall Frenzy recruitment event is Nov. 5 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Cajundome Convention Center.

Our Lady of Fatima Applications for grades PreK-4 through 8th will be available online Nov. 30. More info at admissions.

St. Ignatius Application process is Jan. 4-29. Applicants will be notified Feb. 2, and registration payment due Feb. 5. More info at

Sts. Leo-Seton Open house with tours held Nov. 16 from 5-7 p.m. Families who attend the open house or have inquired about admission will be mailed an application in early December. More info at leoseton. org/sls-admissions.asp.

St. Thomas More New student online applications will be available Jan. 13, with registration March 6-8. Apply online at

Schools of the Sacred Heart Rolling admissions, so applications are accepted at any time; tours by appointment. Christmas at Coteau is Dec. 2 and 3. Apply online at academy/admissions/apply/ and

ESA Admissions are rolling, but committee usually makes decisions in late January and early February. Preview Days are Nov. 15, Dec. 6 and Jan. 10 at 8:30 a.m. for PreK- 3-5th grade and 1 p.m. for grades 6-12. Apply online at Page/Admissions/Apply-to-ESA.

St. Genevieve Application process is open Jan. 9-27. Assistance will be offered in the computer lab for new parents Jan. 9-10 from 6-8 p.m. and for returning parents Jan. 11 from 6-8 p.m. at the middle campus. Online application at admissions/onlineapp.cfm.

St. Pius Elementary School Application process opened Oct. 17, and deadline for PHASE I applications is the week of Nov. 11. Open House Showcase scheduled for Nov. 3, with tours at 5:30 and 6:15 p.m. More info at www.

Westminster Christian Academy Enrollment for new families opens Feb. 2; apply online at