DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - It may be three months into the school year before students at Live Oak High are in their new building.
Construction started two years ago in June 2010, but a copper theft earlier this year set the project back. The project manager says even with the delay, they'll finish ahead of schedule.
Hopes were that the school would be ready for the first day of school on August 9. Instead of students, construction workers will likely be the only ones on campus.
"People are upset; they want to start school here. It's an inconvenience," said Kellee Dickerson, Live Oak alum and now the school board member who represents her alma maters district. She says Live Oak is overdue for a new facility. "I was there for leaky ceilings and all T-buildings."
Improvements include a lunch room that can accommodate all the students in two shifts. Dickerson says in the old school, lunch was done in four shifts because the cafeteria was so small, which added time to the school day.
The new 225,000 square foot campus, Dickerson says, is set up more like a junior college. Of the seven buildings on campus, five are close to completion.
The project manager, Wesley Gifford, says what put them behind was a huge copper theft in the classroom and administrative building.
"The building sat still for two months. Now we're two months further behind looking not at July but August, September into October," Gifford said.
Gifford says the theft delayed electrical work, which is why workers are somewhat in the dark on the lower level of the building. Ceiling grids have been put up on the second level of the building, along with the air conditioning system. Gifford says all that needs to be done now is mostly cleanup work and touching up paint.
He says they have until January 2013 to complete the school. So contractually, they will finish ahead of schedule.
"You want to snap your fingers and want it to be done," Dickerson said. "It's worth waiting for."
The old Live Oak High building will be turned into a junior high school for seventh and eighth graders. The project manager says crews are trying to finish the new football field in time for the homecoming game in September.