One year after flood, Park Forest Elementary reopens just in time for school year
BATON ROUGE - The school bell will ring for thousands of students across the Baton Rouge area Wednesday.
For some schools damaged by the flood, preparations will go right down to the last minute.
Although final touches are being completed, Park Forest Elementary is more than ready to welcome their incoming students in the morning, just as Principal Alicia Franklin promised her students a year ago.
“After the flood, we had a decline of about 100 to 150 students,” Franklin said.
That is nearly a half of the total enrolled student population at the elementary.
When the August 2016 flood hit, the students were forced out to a separate school where the average Kindergarten student to teacher ratio was 40 to one.
"It’s the night before the first day of school, and look where you're at, 10717 lane drive coming to see Mrs. Franklin," exclaimed Franklin when the principal saw a former student.
A year down the road, a warm embrace, a promise-kept, and a newly restored campus for over 300 incoming students is complete.
Franklin, beginning her second year as principal, kept her word. Working diligently to re-open Park Forest Elementary. Just in time for school to begin Wednesday August 9th
“Over the summer we planned and prepped and we had volunteers," Franklin said.
The entire project was contracted out, and the hard work and time spent is paying off with the new pristine campus.
While construction crews were out on campus Tuesday, it was only for the final touches.
Kindergarten teacher Abigail Adkins was three weeks into her first teaching job when the flood hit. She said it was a very difficult year, something other school teachers agree with.
"Whenever we were gutting the house, that's when I got the call from Ms. Franklin saying 'Hey, our school is bad off, we're not going to be there this year.' That was hard because it felt like my home had flooded there too," Adkins said.
The school will be back better than ever on Wednesday, with a master plan that includes theater, new carpet, cafeteria, and more storage space.