Neighbors, alumni vocal about potential relocation of Lee High School

Education

POSTED: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 10:07pm

UPDATED: Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 10:18am

People with connections to Lee High School made clear that they want Lee rebuilt, not relocated.

They shared their concerns at the East Baton Rouge School Board's workshop Wednesday night.

The board is considering ways to reconstruct Lee as part of the tax plan passed by voters in 2008.

"The kids who go to school there, we've listened to them cheer at football games and watched them as they grew up," said Kathy Wascom.

The board discussed two plans, both of which would have a budget of roughly $58 million. One would be to rebuild Lee at its current location. The other plan involves moving Lee to another site in South Baton Rouge, but people spoke passionately against it.

"Our neighborhood has always had a long tradition of the school being there," said Dr. William Gladney, who is a Lee alumnus. "We'd like to try to help y'all support it in any way that you can."

As for what type of school it would be, there was a consensus that the new Lee would have a magnet component to it.

"A lot of children can't get into the Baton Rouge High program, or perhaps the McKinley magnet programs," Wascom said. She added that she would like to see Lee provide courses in information technology and the creative arts.

The board viewed initial budget projections. Several members expressed concern that not enough money was set aside for technology, including the possibility of virtual classrooms.

"I certainly don't want to be involved in planning anything that simply is going to be a replication of what we already do," said Superintendent Bernard Taylor, with an eye toward the future of education.

But when it comes to tradition, there was only one that neighbors said they cared about: holding onto Lee High.

"It's always good for an area and a neighborhood to have that energy, that young energy," said Wascom

The next step is for the board to find a swing site for all of Lee's current students. Construction of the new school is expected to take between 18 months and two years.

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