New parish classrooms taking shape

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Construction of extra classrooms at Vidalia Upper and Ferriday Lower elementaries and Monterey High School is finally starting to take shape.

&uot;We should be on schedule to finish those classrooms by the middle of December, which is what we had planned,&uot; Superintendent Lester &uot;Pete&uot; Peterman said Monday.

Peterman recently met with project architect Joe Brocato and officials of Nottingham Construction of Baker, to be updated on the project’s progress.

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&uot;We’re hoping by the middle of August to have the building roofed and walled so (crews) can start on the final exterior and interior work,&uot; Peterman said. &uot;We certainly need more room.&uot;

Nine classrooms will be built at Vidalia Upper Elementary, nine at Monterey High and six at Ferriday Lower Elementary at a cost of about $1.6 million to replace portable buildings in which some classes are now held.

Proceeds from a 13-mill tax voters passed in October will be used to repay bonds issued to pay for construction of the classrooms.

As of Monday afternoon, crews from Nottingham Construction had poured a foundation and erected walls at the Ferriday site and had begun framing walls at Monterey. Crews will begin installing roof trusses today at the Vidalia site, said project Superintendent Lester Berard.

Many of the portable buildings used by Concordia Parish public schools are more than 30 years old, and with decaying doors and water-damaged ceilings and floors they are showing their age despite constant maintenance.

Portable buildings cost more to heat and cool and are less safe during severe weather than permanent classrooms. And a lack of walkways to cover sidewalks has meant that students and teachers often have to walk in the rain to get the schools main buildings, school officials have said.