Vernon School Board to open bidding process for new school

By By Lauren Manary / American Press

LEESVILLE — The Vernon Parish School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to open the bidding process for the construction of a

school to replace South Polk Elementary.

“We’ve been working on a project to

build a funding source to build a new school for South Polk Elementary,”

Superintendent

Jackie Self said. “That has come to fruition today. The architect

has completed the plan, and we are ready to bid that project.”

The new $21 million South Polk

Elementary School will replace the current campus, which sits on Fort

Polk, and will move students

from the main post gates to next to the Veterans Affairs clinic on

La. 467. All first-grade students, including North Polk

students, will attend the new campus.

Vernon Parish Finance Director Tim Ward

said the new South Polk Elementary will be a step up toward educating

Fort Polk students.

“It’s going to be a new school, and

it’s going to be a more modern school than we have now,” he said. “We

will have more classrooms

and bigger classrooms with more space for our current students.”

The School Board received $18 million from the U.S. Department of Defense for the construction of the school, as part of more

than $129 million granted to schools that serve service members’ children.

Ward said the state committed $1 million to the project and that $2 million will be funded by the district’s general fund.

Bids for the project will be accepted until June 11 at the Central Office on Belview Road in Leesville. Bids will be unsealed

and read at the June board meeting, where officials will choose a contractor.

The School Board also announced its plan to ask Ward 7 voters to approve a 10-year, $1.2 million bond issue to provide for

sidewalks, land acquisition and improvement, playgrounds, and the improvement of buildings and facilities.

The bond issue would fund both Rosepine Elementary and its high school efforts. Ward said the money could be used for new

buildings and renovations to existing buildings. He said the School Board is considering a new track for the high school,

and may buy land adjacent to the school properties.