LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — The Lafayette Parish School Board has funded and approved the replacement of three schools, including the largest one in Acadiana. They come with a price tag of 150 million dollars. The oldest and most expensive is Lafayette High School, followed by Carencro Heights Elementary and Prairie Elementary.
LPSB members stressed each school’s construction is years away. Since they’ve just been approved, now the process can start to get architects involved and ask the community what they want.
“It’s a long time coming. I’m so excited about this endeavor,” expressed LHS parent Denise Mata Melancon.
54, 63, and 69 years old are the ages of the three schools now approved to be rebuilt. The youngest but first up for replacement is Prairie Elementary.
Two students from Prairie Elementary told the schools, “We love Prairie, but we need a new campus.” Half of the school’s classrooms are currently in portable buildings which the children said are not the safest and make it difficult to hear a teacher when it is raining or AC is blowing. A new $25M site on Rue de Belier is anticipated to be built and ready by the 2024-2025 school year.
Although $25M is budgeted for Carencro Heights Elementary and $100M is set aside for Lafayette High’s construction, those campuses haven’t even decided if they will rebuild on their existing location or not.
News Ten’s Neale Zeringue asked District 6 LPSB Member Justin Centanni, “What can people expect with this school?”
Centanni responded, “We don’t know yet.” He had the idea to set aside tens of millions each year after a 2017 school improvement tax failed. He plans for that fund will persist to hopefully rebuild Truman Elementary, Northside High, and a multisport complex.
“I hope the legacy of this particular board is not just these three schools, but the path to rebuild the schools that need it,” Centanni expressed. “We’ve got a big task ahead of us, but it’s real exciting to get started.”
The next step is appointing architects for the design of each school. Parents, teachers, and students already giving their input Wednesday night.
Sam Taulli has taught at Lafayette High School for 36 years. He requested, “Please if you’re going to replace Lafayette High, replace the whole thing.”
LHS Sophomore Lillian Mack told the board she hopes future students get the best school in the district. “I went to Southside, and it is beautiful. Just stepping in that building makes me so happy, and I want that to be how it is for LHS,” Mack said.
Southside High School’s construction cost $78M dollars. Again, Lafayette High has $100M prepared for its construction.