LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (WAFB) - State representatives and administration members of Southside Elementary School gathered Thursday, Sept. 10 for a groundbreaking ceremony for a brand new school.
Southside Elementary is one of the last schools to be rebuilt after the August 2016 flooding. The new school will be located at 26353 Hwy. 16 in Denham Springs and will encompass the junior high and elementary school. The original campuses of both schools were severely damaged in 2016.
The main entrances for both schools will face Highway 16, school officials say. The new elementary school will accommodate about 700 students, while the junior high will hold about 1,000. The back part of the campus will include a band room, gym, multi-purpose room, and cafeteria. There will also be a large, two-story library in the center of the main building.
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“So many good people worked to make today happen. We refused to take ‘no’ for answer when confronted with financial, legal, regulatory and timing obstacles. This doesn’t happen much but today represents everyone pushing in the same direction to make the right thing happen for the children and future generations of Livingston Parish. Days like this make it worth it,” said Congressman Garret Graves.
“We would not be standing here today without Congressman Graves' leadership and dedicated pursuit to secure the funding we needed to rebuild these schools,” Superintendent Joe Murphy said. “Much thanks for his efforts to reduce the National Flood Insurance Program penalty against our schools following the flood. That action alone saved our district $17 million – and that savings will go a long way in providing state-of-the-art facilities filled with technology, hands-on laboratories and instructional material for our students.”
Site preparation for the two-story campus is set to begin later in September. The $45 million project is set to be completed by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.
“This day marks the end of a long, arduous journey. It’s hard to imagine how much we have overcome since we were faced with only debris and destruction at this site. But more importantly, this marks the first day a new journey for this community – one of restoration and progress and brighter, better days ahead,” Murphy said.
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