Upgrade sought for Sulphur High football stadium

By By Nichole Osinski / American Press

Sulphur High School’s stadium could get

a $5.2 million renovation after the April 6 municipal election. The

stadium is due

for repairs to deal with outdated infrastructure as well as

inadequate facilities, according to Bond District 30 board member

Joe Andrepont.

“The press box sways in the wind, the visitor restrooms are atrocious, there are no handrails for our senior citizens,” he

said. “Renovations would mean demolishing the existing stadium on the home side and rebuilding a new stadium.”

If voters approve, the project would

start shortly after the election, with the term of the bond covering 20

years. Plans

include seating for 5,200 on the home side and a new press box,

ticket booths and gateway; a generator and sound system would

also be added.

On the visitor side, building code/ADA improvements would be made, along with restroom upgrades and a new storage building.

The north end zone would seat 200.

Along with the stadium improvements,

School District 30 in Sulphur is also seeking a separate bond issue to

update and acquire

classroom and facility equipment. This second bond issue is set at

$4.6 million and covers area elementary, middle and high

schools with a term of 20 years.

Andrepont said technology upgrades are a central need for the schools, especially because all state testing will eventually

be done online. Laptops, iPads and desktops are included in the proposed plan.

Bond Districts 26 and 30 board member Chad Guidry said officials made sure to take into account the adjusted tax millages.

“We are in a unique situation this year with everybody’s home being reassessed,” he said. “Taxes did go up quite a bit this

year; Social Security tax did go up 2 percent.”

However, Guidry said when it comes to making improvements for students, Sulphur residents have been supportive of the efforts.

The Calcasieu Parish School Board is also seeking a $13.2 million bond issue for School District 25 in Iowa and a $10 million

bond issue for School District 26 in Vinton.

Bond District 25 improvements include a

new middle school for 500 students. The 20-year bond issue would also

mean a new gymnasium/auditorium

for LeBleu Settlement Elementary, plus surveillance, technology

and several facility upgrades for Iowa High School. J.I. Watson

Elementary Head Start plans would improve restrooms, traffic flow,

walkways, canopies and signage.

The third-through-fifth-grade campus

would have similar updates, and the shared space would include

technology upgrades, renovated

administration offices, and work on walkways and canopies.

Guidry said the Vinton Elementary

School gym has had no air conditioning and that officials would put in a

new system with

the bond. He said this would require updates to maintain fire

marshal standards. The cost would be just over a quarter-million

dollars.

The bond issue would also cover facility upgrades in the elementary and middle schools — both would have security upgrades,

paved drives and pavilion areas for students. The middle school previously had roof problems where water had leaked in.

Guidry said officials are looking at starting a pilot program at the middle school where students’ textbooks would be replaced

with iPads.

The School Board purchased 13.4 acres east of Vinton High School, and the bond issue would provide money for a new softball

and baseball field. All three schools would have security and technology upgrades.

“I think it’s important to be proactive

and continuously be looking forward to the future and vision of what we

need for our

schools,” said Bond District 30 board member Billy Breaux.

“Anytime you can get students excited to go to school that’s worth

every dollar.”