POSTED: Friday, February 8, 2013 - 12:08am
UPDATED: Friday, February 8, 2013 - 2:54pm
Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board threw its support Thursday behind a plan to temporarily move Lee High School onto Valley Park's campus.
Lee High School will be closed for two years while the facility is renovated, prompting the board to find an alternate location for Lee's approximately 800 students.
Catherine Fletcher, East Baton Rouge Parish School System "To make sure that we have the site demoed this summer," said Catherine Fletcher, the district's chief business operations officer,
"we need to relocate the students, so it is imperative that we do make a decision and make a decision soon."
The board was given two basic options during its committee of the whole meeting. One possibility involved moving the Lee High School students into a building the district used to lease in the Town South Shopping Center, on Staring Lane near Perkins Road. The second choice was to move them into Valley Park, on Bawell Street, and send all the Valley Park students to the Staring location.
Neither one was ideal.
"I'm not enamored with putting children in an old shopping center," said board member Jerry Arbour.
But given that there are so many more students at Lee, the board members decided it should get the better facility. And Valley Park has features that would allow it begin the magnet programs that are part of Lee's renovation.
"It's a good, good school," Fletcher told the board. "It has a gym and a stage."
The Valley Park campus will need some repairs and upgrades before it can accommodate a full high school. But the board members figured that spending money on it now would solve the short-term problem of giving Lee High School a home, as well as the long-term problem of middle school overcrowding.
"I just believe that we don't need to spend money on a Band Aid," Jill Dyason argued, "but that this could provide that community with more capacity."
While the board members unanimously voted in favor of the proposal, Thursday's meeting was strictly informational. The board cannot officially vote on the plan until its next meeting, on February 21st. The plan, though, is expected to receive full support again.