Southside Junior High and Elementary greet students with new campus

A new school in Livingston Parish opened six years after the flood of 2016.
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 10:08 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2022 at 12:57 PM CDT
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DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - The 2016 flood wiped out a great deal of our communities including the campus of both Southside Junior High and Elementary schools in Denham Springs. After 6 years of learning in temporary buildings, students and staff had an extra pep in their step as they explored their new school.

“This was a long process from the touring other schools’ phase to design phase, to construction phase, and now our students are finally here so it’s been a long 6 years,” said the principal of the junior high Wes Partin.

The two schools were originally separated but are now combined into one. Leaders say the joint campus will help them with their big buddy mentorship program.

“Our students would basically take elementary students under the wing and mentor them, invite first grade classes over, do plays for them, read to them, different things like that. So, just creating that partnership with them,” Partin added.

After studying schools in Florida and south Louisiana that have needed to make similar renovations, the school was built 9ft above the ground. The revolutionary layout is designed to maximize learning and social engagement from every corner of campus.

“We want our children to be comfortable when they learn and here, they get to move around and learn. We have communal areas in every hallway wing on this campus. You can actually open our classrooms up, they have fronts on them, you can open them up and migrate the kids outside, it allows us to do some small group instruction, and we can teach and learn anywhere on this campus,” said Livingston Parish Superintendent Joe Murphy.

A new school in Livingston Parish will soon open six years after the flood of 2016

The school is now not only new but better. With teachers and staff say they see it almost as a blessing in disguise.

“It’s been something that’s definitely been special for them too. And we’ve been able to share that together for a few days before students came on campus today,” Partin explained.

What was once a decimated piece of property, now has a new life as a haven for a grateful staff and the eager young minds of these students.

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