Walter Pierce

LPSS facilities dialogue set for today, Thursday

by Walter Pierce

The Lafayette Parish School System will host two community dialogue meetings devoted to aspects of the comprehensive facilities master plan at 6:00 p.m. today at J.W. Faulk Elementary and at the same time Thursday at Plantation Elementary. It is the second series of dialogues in conjunction with development of the plan led by Baton Rouge planning firm CSRS. This week’s meetings will present data about the conditions of school buildings and the projected demographics of the Lafayette Parish School System.

A few months ago, CSRS and Architects Southwest — a local firm contracted with the school system — dispatched a team of architects and engineers to inspect buildings owned and operated by LPSS. The resulting report released in September was sobering: The report grouped 14 schools in the “high index,” meaning that the cost of their needed repairs is at least 65 percent of the cost of building a new school to replace them. Last week planners released data on projected demographics in Lafayette’s public school system. The report estimates that the student population in the parish will remain essentially flat over the next decade.

The next series of community dialogues, held in the same Tuesday/Thursday format at the same time and locations, will take place Jan. 12 and 14 and will be devoted to discussing options for LPSS properties.