Ascension schools mull athletic facility upgrades
GONZALES - The fieldhouse at East Ascension High School has become a point of pride, from Glenn Dorsey's jersey hanging in the lobby to the building's geographical convenience.
"We jog out on the sidewalk to the track. We have practice fields ten yards away," said Paul Bourgeois, the school's head football coach and athletic director. "It makes a difference in your time."
But EAHS can't host track meets, because the school doesn't have enough bleachers or a press box. The Ascension Parish School Board could be changing that, as they pore over a prioritized list from all four high schools in the district of individual fixes that coaches and administrators would like to see.
East Ascension, Dutchtown, Donaldsonville and St. Amant high schools have their individual needs, like EAHS's track upgrades and a bigger weight room for Dutchtown. The school board has put a tentative price tag of $15 million on the projects.
But parish-wide improvements like cleaner bathrooms in the older stadiums will also be addressed.
"We've built new schools, but from a high school perspective, we haven't built new high schools other than Dutchtown, about ten years ago. We're busting at the seams from a standpoint of just having weight rooms, locker rooms, those types of things, so that's just systemic across the parish," said Ascension Parish School Board President Troy Gautreau.
Gautreau said the last decade has seen the parish's maintenance budget erode, and this new list will help make up for that.
He emphasized that no taxes will be raised to pay for the upgrades.