A new elementary school, funded with federal, state and local money, will be built adjacent to Fort Polk. The new, $20 million South Polk Elementary School will be built along La. 467, two miles north of the current school. (mgnonline.com)
Last Modified: Sunday, July 22, 2012 7:18 PM
FORT POLK — A new elementary school, funded with federal, state and local money, will be built adjacent to Fort Polk.
The new, $20 million South Polk Elementary School will be built along La. 467, two miles north of the current school.
The campus will host 800 first- through fourth-graders who are children of military families serving at Fort Polk.
A news release from Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office said Congress appropriated $250 million in 2011 to repair or replace distressed schools on military bases. The current South Polk Elementary located faced capacity and condition problems that placed it high on a priority list.
That ranking made the school eligible for replacement, with the federal government providing $16 million, the state of Louisiana and the Vernon Parish School District providing $1 million each, and the school district contributing in-kind construction services valued at $2 million.
“This new school comes on the heels of a $25 million investment by the state that will help usher in a new era of housing, retail and educational opportunities for the people of Fort Polk, Leesville and Vernon Parish,” Jindal said.
“The federal government, the state of Louisiana, Fort Polk and the Vernon Parish School Board share a vision — our soldiers and family members deserve a quality of life and an education commensurate with the level of service and sacrifice they’ve given our country,” said Brig. Gen. K.K. Chinn, commander at Fort Polk.
“There’s nothing more important to parents — both military and civilian. With the strength of our partnerships here in Louisiana, together we will continue to cement Fort Polk’s reputation as an installation of choice and the ‘best hometown in the Army.’ ”
The Vernon Parish School District will move about 535 second- through fourth-graders from the current South Polk Elementary to the new school.
They will be joined by about 160 first-graders, who will be transferred from nearby North Polk Elementary. About 135 military-family students who have attended Pickering Elementary — because South Polk Elementary had reached capacity — will be transferred to the new school.
Altogether, Fort Polk generates a $1.6 billion annual economic impact. Fort Polk is the second-largest employer in Louisiana with more than 16,000 military personnel and civilian employees.