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Former Glen Oaks Middle School building site of frequent vandalism

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BATON ROUGE - Last November, a fire badly damaged the former Glen Oaks Middle School building. Since then, neighbors say it has been a site of frequent vandalism.

Glen Oaks Middle operated on Monarch Ave. for more than half a century before the state took it over in 2008. A charter school operator later moved students to a campus on Cadillac Street and renamed it Zion City School.

The Monarch Avenue building has been deteriorating and neighbors say it attracts troublemakers.

"It's an invitation for anything and anyone to come do things because there is no security guard, there's no nothing. You can see a fence but that doesn't mean anything to anyone who might have another state of mind," said James Joseph, pastor of a nearby church.

The former middle school's doors and gates are wide open, providing easy access to the property.

"With an open building like that, you may have all kinds of activities that are unwanted being invited," Joseph said.

Homeowners in the area are urging authorities to demolish the building and are calling the site an eyesore.

Metro Council member Darryl Hurst, who represents the district, said he understands why neighbors are frustrated, but added that the delay is to make sure the eventual demolition is safe.

"While it is an eyesore, there is a process, especially in the governmental space where we have to do environmental testing before we tear down these buildings because they're so old. While it seems we are just leaving it there, we are really protecting the community," Hurst said.

Joseph said officials are not making demolition of the building a priority.

"If the city, the school board, whoever. If they wanted to do anything, they would have done it. Especially if it were a different neighborhood and I stand on what I say," he said.

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