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Upgrade sought for Sulphur High football stadium

Last Modified: Saturday, March 16, 2013 8:49 PM

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 The stadium is due for repairs to deal with outdated infrastructure as well as inadequate facilities, according to Bond District 30 board member Joe Andrepont.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.”

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