Board to dedicate first of two new schools

Aaron Looney

The Ascension Parish School Board will officially dedicate the new Pecan Grove Primary School during a special ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the school’s Worthey Road location.

Pecan Grove Primary is one of two new primary schools that will open this fall as part of the board’s schedule to open six new primary schools within the next three years.

Construction and upkeep for five of the new schools are being funded through a tax passed by parish voters in 2005, while the sixth is being funded through a one-time windfall in the school system’s fund balance.

Also opening this year is Prairievile Primary, a K-4 school located on Parker Road in Hobart.

The opening of the two schools caused a firestorm of controversy earlier this year, as the board mulled redistricting options before selecting a plan that moved students in the Duplessis area and changed some students’ from the Dutchtown feeder system into the East Ascension feeder system. This caused a backlash in the community that led to one parent even filing suit against the school system in an attempt to block the move.

System officials have said that while Prairieville Primary School will be open Aug. 8, it will likely not be fully complete as one building on campus may not be ready for use until the second or third week of the school year.

The next school scheduled to open will be Spanish Lake Primary, located off Bluff Road in Prairievile. The school, set to open in the fall of 2009, will hold approximately 750 students.

Lakeside Primary School, located off Emory Ficklin Road in Lake, will open in the fall of 2009, according to system officials. It will help aleviate stressed school numbers in the Galvez aea.

The board is scheduled to accept an act of donation frrom Renaissance Development Group LLC at its Aug. 5 meeting for 10 acres in the proposed Orange Grove development on Hwy. 22 south of Sorrento to house the sixth and final school of the schedule. Once construction begins, the school is set to open in the fall of 2010. It will cater to primary school students in Sorrento, the Pelican Point subdivision and neaby areas from the Mississippi River and Airline Highway north to the St. James Parish line.

The board also voted to build another new school in the Central school district, in an effort to alleviate overcrowding in the Dutchtown area. The school, named Central Primary School, is located on Hwy. 431 near the current Central Elementary School. Upon opening of the primary school, Central Elementary School will shift to a sixth- through eighth-grade format.