It’s a news season for St. John Elementary students

Published 8:37 pm Thursday, September 9, 2021

Students at St. John Elementary School enjoyed their first PE classes in their brand-new gymnasium this week. Originally scheduled to be completed last October, progress on the facility was pushed back due to 2020 hurricane damage.

“Laura hit and it wrecked the building pretty bad with a lot of exterior damage,” Holly Holland, spokeswoman for the district, said. 

Contractors were able to quickly resume progress on the site, funded by the Calcasieu Parish School Board’s $50 million Capital Outlay funds, with the final project unveiled on Tuesday. 

The gymnasium features a full-court basketball area and the bleacher seating, neither of which were previously available on the campus, Dea Anne Kay, principal, said. “We used our multi-purpose space that is basically half of our cafeteria for PE and any other gatherings like parent meetings, student celebrations or Christmas programs. Anything we had to do, had to be done in shifts because we’re such a large school. But this will allow now to do it as a community.”

Kelly Fellows, PE teacher, said she’s looking forward to the new games students can be introduced to in the new gymnasium. “We have multiple games that really need a lot of space. In the other space, the lap was just so small they weren’t getting as much activity we were wanting for them because the space was so limited.”

The new space will also be a time-saver for the classes giving them more time to focus on fun, she added. “We didn’t have a whole lot of room to put out equipment, without having to move them (students) off to the side, then put the equipment out. That took up some time, whereas with this (new gymnasium) we’re going to have an area where we can exercise and then also have the equipment set up to play our different games and do our different stations.”

Fellows said St. John students certainly got their fill of exercise and fun in the previous facility but she’s excited to usher in a new season for the students. “We did what we could to keep them exercising in the other space, but this is going to make it a little more fun and exciting.”