BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Over 20 buildings in the East Baton Rouge Parish School District were damaged by the flood, 9 of those flooded structures were schools. "It's been a very traumatic year for these kids," said East Baton Rouge Superintendent Warren Drake.
The first day of school is under the district's belt and it might come as a surprise, but out all the flood damaged schools; only one, Greenbrier Elementary is not holding classes on their campus. Superintendent Drake said each school was assigned a contractor and architect to make sure the school year started smoothly for the district.
Superintendent Drake said Greenbrier's original location will be under construction for the next year. Until then, Greenbrier students will temporarily call Howell Park Elementary.
Much like the majority of the parish, Greenbrier flooded, taking on over 4 feet of water. Shayla Hollins was the assistant principal last year when over 35% of families in the district were displaced. "We have students that are not in their
own home and then not in own school so that really took a toll on our students and of course for the school as well," she said.
But now, Hollins is leading the Greenbrier Gators and she said the morale has been boosted.
Hollins thinks a large part of that confidence is due to over 300 students being in a temporary but stable location. "We're in our own space. They have their own classrooms so now they can focus on what matters," said Principal Hollins.
"There needs to be a sense of normalcy and I think that's what we're providing now is that sense of normalcy. Get back on their home campus, see their teachers and get back to what they consider to be the norm," said Superintendent Drake.
As for the eight schools that were flood damaged, Superintendent Drake said they need minimal work, but he's looking ahead to a bright year. "There may be a few doors here that need to be replaced. A few minor things but the kids are back
in beautiful new facilities," he said.
"I think this will really give us a sense of unity. They have a sense of belonging, our students, our staff and our parents will get that sense of belonging," said Hollins.
We're also told Glen Oaks Park Elementary is having class on their original campus but in temporary buildings. Superintendent Drake said FEMA has not yet determined whether the district will receive money to repair the school or tear it
down and rebuild it.