Next school board administration to consider building new central office

Published 11:18 am Saturday, November 12, 2022

VIDALIA, La. — A decision to build a new central school board office will be placed in the hands of the next administration in January, officials said during a Thursday evening board meeting.

The Concordia Parish School Board’s central office space has been closed for the past two months because of a mold issue with the last two board meetings being held at Vidalia City Hall.

Outgoing school board member Warren Enterkin offered a motion to start a committee that would look at options to build a new central office.

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The current central office space on Carter Street across the highway from Vidalia City Hall is leased from Steve Weeks of Vidalia. However, the school district is under contract to take care of the building’s maintenance needs.

School Board President Fred Butcher spoke after Entertkin’s motion and suggested they let the next administration handle it when they take office in January 2023, “That way some of the newly elected board members can be a part of that committee.”

“I’m fine with that,” Enterkin said and withdrew his motion.

Three new school board members elect will be taking office in January.

Enterkin introduced R. Wayne Wilson Jr., a school board member-elect who sat in the audience of Thursday’s meeting and will be taking Enterkin’s seat in District 5 Place A.

Wilson had 73 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s election with Enterkin and Sandy Netherland Roberts both vying for the same seat.

Also during Tuesday’s election, Fred Marsalis defeated incumbent District 2 board member Rev. Raymond Riley Sr., Ph.D., and Vanessa Houck defeated incumbent District 3 Place A board member Ricky Raven Sr.

Butcher and Angela Hayes were both reelected to serve another term and incumbents Dorothy Parker, Lissette Forman, Derrick Carson and Matt Taunton were unopposed.

In other matters, a newly-formed committee of the school board is weighing the cost and benefits of placing artificial turf on the Ferriday and Vidalia football fields and a running track around each. Similar projects cost between $2.5 million and $2.7 million per field and a turf field without track costs approximately $1.4 million, said Marco Gonzalez, who is a project supervisor with Volkert Inc. The Vidalia Mayor and Board of Aldermen have discussed using $500,000 of the town’s excess hydroelectric revenue for turf on Vidalia High School’s football stadium.

Enterkin was the only school board member who opposed starting this committee during the board’s October meeting.

“We’re meeting in Vidalia’s board room because our board room is incapacitated,” Enterkin said. “We’re renting a building over there and we’re paying for it and now we’re talking about millions of dollars to do football fields. I think we’ve got our priorities a little out of kilter here. We need to look at a board room and a place to meet of our own rather than think about spending millions of dollars on the football fields.”

To be fair to Monterey, Enterkin added if the school district puts turf on the football fields they would also need to do the same to Monterey’s baseball field.

“Just off the cuff, he’s saying it’s $1.5 million times three. That is a lot of money for this board,” Enterkin said. “We need to think about where our priorities are rather than consider refurbishing the football fields at this time.”