New elementary school on pace to open for 2022-2023 school year

Doris Maricle

JENNINGS — A new $29 million Jennings Elementary School, scheduled to open to students for the 2022-2023 school year, is taking shape.

The project is about 40 percent complete with construction well underway both inside and outside of the two-story building, according to Project Manager Jeremy Kopnicky of Trahan Construction.

“The project is coming along and we feel that it is still within the time frame we have set,” Superintendent Kirk Credeur said. “We are excited and do not foresee any problems that would extend the project unnecessarily.”

Credeur said a lot has happened at the site since the work on the 135,000-square-foot facility began last August.

Portions of the roof, steel beams, plumbing, electrical work and a rear concrete parking area have been completed and work is underway to install windows in a classroom wing. Selections have also been made on colors, furnishings and flooring throughout the school.

“We are starting to visualize what things will look like and where they are,” he said. “I get excited driving by and just seeing the progress. It may not look like much from the highway, but a lot of work is going on behind-thescenes.”

Work on the new pre-kindergarten through sixth grade school, is expected to wrap up by next spring and be ready when classes begin in August 2022.

“We are still looking at late April or early May, which will give us a little cushion, but we are hoping to have the keys to the building by April so we can start the transition,” Credeur said.

School personnel would spend the summer moving into the new school and becoming familiar with the facility before opening its doors to students and staff, he said.

Opportunities would also be available for students and parents to tour the new school before it opens.

“We can’t wait to start inviting the public to see the building,” Credeur said. “I’ve got such an investment in it with all the time, energy and passion that I have put in it from the ground up from selling the idea to deciding how to finance it and manage those finances. It’s one of the proudest things I have ever done as far as something you can tangibly see.”

Members of the Ward II Committee have also worked closely on the project.

The school will feature a two-story structure with elevators and a pedestrian crosswalk to move students from one end of the facility to another. It will also include 74 classrooms, library, cafeteria, a common area, stage, indoor basketball court and covered play area.

It will house more than 1,100 students by consolidating the current Jennings Elementary School with James Ward Elementary School to a new single elementary campus. Grades 3-6 will be housed on the upper level with pre-K-2 grades located on the bottom floor.

The school, located on a 20-acre site on the west side of La. 26 south in Jennings, is being funded by a $29.5 million bond issue and a separate half-cent sales tax approved by voters in March 2019.

 
 

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Construction of the new Jennings Elementary School is underway and the building, which will house more than 1,100 students, is now 40 percent complete. Work is expected to wrap up by next spring with an August 2022 projected opening.

Doris Maricle

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