Repairs for three flood-damaged schools to be completed this summer
LIVINGSTON - Repairs at three campuses damaged by the August 2016 flood will be completed before the start of the 2017-2018 school year, according to Livingston Parish Public Schools Superintendent Rick Wentzel.
The three campuses, Freshwater Elementary and Northside Elementary in Denham Springs, and Springfield High School will be completely repaired by the start of school on Aug. 9.
Five other campuses damaged in the flood have received restoration work this summer, but will not be completely restored to their pre-flood status until the summer of 2018, Wentzel said in a press release. Those schools, all in Denham Springs, includes Denham Springs High School, Denham Springs Freshman High, Denham Springs Junior High, Lewis Vincent Elementary and Seventh Ward Elementary.
"The time schedules for the full restoration of our schools is largely dependent upon our access to funding for those repairs," Wentzel said in a press release. "The three campuses that will be fully restored by the end of this summer are not located in a flood zone, so we've been able to access FEMA funding for these repairs at a faster rate than we can for the others. But with that said, we are confident in the process, and we are working closely with state and federal officials to ensure that all our campuses are fully restored in a timely manner."
School officials are reportedly still negotiating with FEMA officials to determine an approved plan of action for restorations at Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High. All three of those schools remain closed and have been housed in temporary campuses at off-site locations. Those students will continue to use those temporary campuses for the upcoming school year.
Wentzel said the district has spent more than $45 million in flood recovery clean up so far, and that doesn't include the cost of repairs done this summer. Those combined costs are expected to increase the district's total out-of-pocket to nearly $120 million. To date, FEMA has reimbursed $21 million to the district, he said.