Leon Godchaux emergency repairs cost $120,000

Published 3:43 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2015

RESERVE — Veterans Construction has been tabbed to refurbish the former Leon Godchaux Junior High campus in Reserve to serve as a temporary home to East St. John Elementary School students.

St. John the Baptist Parish School Board members awarded the contract Wednesday afternoon after Veterans Construction was the lowest of three bidders at $120,000.

Students of East St. John and Lake Pontchartrain Elementary Schools have not attended classes since Aug. 13, following a fire that greatly damaged East St. John Elementary’s main campus.

Lake Pontchartrain Elementary students attend classes in portable buildings on the East St. John Elementary campus while Lake Pontchartrain Elementary is being rebuilt at its U.S. 51 location in LaPlace.

Those portable buildings were not damaged, and Lake Pontchartrain students will resume classes in them Thursday.

School district officials are hoping to place East St. John Elementary School students at Leon Godchaux, beginning Aug. 31.

The majority of work being performed at Leon Godchaux will take place in the main building, where the classrooms are primarily located.

Construction officials said the work would include painting walls, putting in new light bulbs and light covers, securing lockers, cleaning rest rooms, installing smart boards, taking down televisions and chalk boards, patching up walls, installing missing floor base and ceiling tiles and repairing an electric panel in the cafeteria.

Installing a new drain, performing kitchen pest control and improving sewer work are also scheduled.

The work should be complete by Aug. 27 so teachers and School Board personnel can move in desks and equipment prior to the students’ arrival four days later.

School Board President Keith Jones said community response has been overwhelming, adding school leaders have received a steady stream of support since last week.

The school district has partnered with New Wine Christian Fellowship and Marathon Petroleum Corporation to provide a camp for East St. John Elementary School students.

Parents can register their children at New Wine Christian Fellowship, 1929 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace, and the camp begins Thursday and takes place from 7 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Monday through Friday as needed. Bus transportation provided by the school district is available.

Before and after care is also available beginning at 6 a.m. and ending at 6 p.m. for parents providing their own transportation.

Jones said Marathon is funding the camp’s main hours at no cost to the School District, which is a huge relief.

Jones was also very appreciative of Superintendent Kevin George and his staff, who he said have worked countless hours in the days since the fire.

“The superintendent and his staff have been everywhere, non-stop,” Jones said. “That is one of the reasons we extended his contract another three years, and that was prior to the fire. He has done a great job. He is a great superintendent.”