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Ascension schools damaged in 2016 flood must pay for more insurance

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ASCENSION PARISH - Temporary buildings have served as the home for Lake Elementary in St. Amant for more than two years, but in the next few days, they will be gone.

“We knew from the beginning that this was just a temporary fix, said Jackie Tisdell, spokesperson for Ascension Public Schools. “We just needed to get by while we could restore that campus buildings, so we lease these we do not own these,” she said.

Leasing the “t-buildings” for the four schools affected by the 2016 flood, costs the school district about a quarter-million dollars each month, but now Ascension has been moving closer to business as usual.

“This is a major milestone for us in our flood recovery. This is ‘end in sight’ of our entire process. We are now back at all of the campuses, except at St. Amant high school,” said Tisdell.

The physical buildings have mostly been restored. Because they used around $50 million in FEMA funds for that restoration. They are now required to not only have flood insurance at all of their schools, but they must also cover the contents inside them, which will cost the district an additional $114,000.

“They will give you so much beyond the insurance requirements, so now the campus is having to sort of recoup that money,” said Louis Saab of CSRS consultants, who is assisting APS through their recovery and restoration process. “So they're having to maximize their coverage and insure that if this happens again that they meet all the FEMA requirements."

Although it may seem like recovery is almost finished and removing the “t-buildings” is a major milestone, the school district says it'll be years before they are fully recovered from the 2016 flood.

“The grants management side, that takes a while, that takes requirements from FEMA to close out a project... So that could take probably a year or so,” Saab said.

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