Ascension Parish Schools plan for future growth

Bullion Crossing site, 12.14 acres
Bullion Crossing site, 12.14 acres

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - More people are moving to Ascension Parish. A nearly 40 percent increase in the last 10 years means more housing, businesses and schools are needed.

Ascension Parish Schools teachers and administrators know what this population spike is all about. They're feeling it inside the classrooms of the district's 28 campuses.

"We continue to grow at a 400 plus student per year increase," said Ascension Parish Schools spokesman Johnnie Balfantz.

To adjust to the ever growing student population the school board has already spent $3.2 million buying less than 100 acres of land around the parish.

A 2009 bond extension allowed for $100 million to be spent on renovations at a number of the older schools in the parish, but taxpayers also wanted to see new facilities for their children.

"It makes me feel great that they're putting the tax dollars to work. It's basically what we moved to the parish for is because they had the great school system," said DJ Bishop, the parent of Ascension Parish Students. "I think that a lot of areas do need new schools."

Balfantz says it may be a while before we see construction on these sites. The parish anticipates building four or five new schools in the coming years---each of which will cost between $12 and $60 million.

"But right now, you know, we're just at the first step which is gathering information on where the growth is and purchasing the land to enable us to do that next step when the time comes," said Balfantz.

Copyright 2012 WAFB. All rights reserved.