ST. AMANT, LA (WAFB) - One of the fastest growing parishes in the state broke ground Tuesday on a brand new school building.
The St. Amant High School Freshman Academy will be home to an estimated 500 students next school year. It is the first of three expansions in the Ascension Parish School System.
The first bell of the new school year has not even rung yet, and already Ascension Parish School leaders are moving dirt on a 64,000 square foot addition.
"We grow 400 to 600 students every year, and our high schools are growing with it," Supt. Patrice Pujol said.
Ascension Schools Superintendent Patrice Pujol said to facilitate that kind of growth the school system has had to get a bit creative adding temporary buildings to its campuses across the parish. New middle schools began popping up, but school leaders soon realized its high schools would be busting at the seams.
Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez said the need was always anticipated.
"With the growth, Ascension Parish needs to build one school per year to keep up with it and it seems like they are on pace at this point," Martinez said.
School leaders are broadening the high school horizon at St. Amant by adding a new building to house freshmen.
Supt. Pujol said it will accommodate growth and help middle school students prepare for the high school experience.
"We've had the freshman academy concept for some time in our schools where our freshman come in and we put them in a separate wing with separate teachers such as they can have a year of acclamation where they can be integrated into the high school," Pujol said.
The first freshman academy will be located on the St. Amant High School campus. The design includes a new cafeteria and kitchen. The cost for the project is $13.8 million.
Pujol said it is the first of many developments for the Grade A school system.
"Obviously our results have been extremely strong in terms of academic achievement, and I think we attract people to the community because of that," Pujol said.
Supt. Pujol said groundbreakings for freshman academies at East Ascension and Dutchtown high schools are expected in the next two months.