LPE campus coming together

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 20, 2013

By David Vitrano

RESERVE – The maddeningly slow pace of recovery for the St. John the Baptist Parish schools that were flooded by Hurricane Isaac last year has started to pick up steam with the impending start of construction of a temporary campus for Lake Pontchartrain Elementary. Until this temporary campus is completed, LPE students have been accommodated in available classroom space at the district’s other schools.
With the School Board having already accepted a contract for purchase and delivery of modular classrooms, last week the board met in special session to look at the bids for installation and infrastructure.
Brad Guerin of Chasm and Fusion Architecture, the design firm overseeing the project, said the bids came in lower than budgeted. In all, four firms bid on the project, Crescent Commercial Construction, J. F. Juge, J. Reed Constructors and Pintail Contracting Services.
Pintail had the lowest bid at $994,000. The School Board accepted the bid unanimously. The work will include laying the foundations for the modular classrooms, then once they are installed, hooking them up for electricity and plumbing and setting up walkways between them.
The board also accepted Pintail’s bid of $120,000 to pave Ory Drive from the campus to Airline Highway.
“Both phases of the project are within budget,” noted Guerin.
The original budget for the project was $2.4 million, and both phases came in at around $2.2 million. Project manager Floyd Luster said some of the excess will be used to cover additional requests from LPE Principal Sylvia Bailey.
While the temporary campus will certainly be a step up for the displaced students, they and their counterparts from East St. John High School look forward to returning to their home campuses, and Superintendent Kevin George said progress is being made in that area as well.
“We are in the process where all we have left are oral presentations,” he said.
He said this week the selection committee will hear from three architectural firms and three engineering firms concerning the renovations to the flood-damaged campuses.
“It will be officially recommended to the board at the Dec. 5 board meeting,” said George.
He said all the firms are properly licensed and able to handle the job.
“We have done the preliminary check,” he said.