Voters OK bond proposals for schools

Westlake, Maplewood areas impacted

Calcasieu Parish School Board bonding District 23 passed its $42 million bond proposal in Saturday’s election with 342 votes in support and 234 in opposition. The 20-year bond will fund campus improvements at Maplewood Elementary and Middle schools, Westwood and Western Heights Elementary schools, S.P. Arnett Middle School and Westlake High School.

Damon Hardesty, board president and District 23 representative, thanked voters for supporting the next generation of students in Westlake and Maplewood.

“If you don’t support the next generation then the community starts to die. That’s the bottom line,” he said.

He said all bonding districts are in great need for upgrades and renovations due to new class offerings, especially with growing curriculum emphasis in science, technology, engineering and math.

“Ten, 15, 20 years ago they didn’t offer as many classes or these special type of classes. We’re having to bus students from school to school to meet the need.”

Hardesty said Westlake residents will see new roofing prioritized with the bond money as well as new wings, pods and classrooms added at each school and a variety of other “much-needed improvements.”

Westwood Elementary’s gymnasium will be completely gutted and remodeled, a costeffective measure, compared with tearing it down completely, Hardesty said. Western Height’s open-air pavilion will be enclosed to serve as a multipurpose facility for schoolcommunity events.

S.P. Arnett’s car pick-up will be extended with interior renovations to classrooms and rest rooms, as well. Westlake High School will add an agriculture building to its campus for the first time and also see renovations in the band hall.

Billy Breaux, another District 23 representative, said its funds will go toward finding efficient methods to improve its campus infrastructure, which includes buildings that are 60-70 years old.

“You get more for your money when you think outside of the box,” he said.

Like many Calcasieu campuses, Maplewood is landlocked, “so there’s only room to go up,” he said.

In addition to interior renovations, construction will begin on a two-story building with computer labs.

Technology is a vital component to a successful school, Breaux said, and contrary to popular belief, bonds help cover that cost as well.

“A lot of people don’t realize …. They think the state ends up giving everyone computers for free but they haven’t done that in the past 10-15 years ago. We’ve got to spend that on technology.”

Technology is a vital component to a successful school. Contrary to popular beliefs, bonds help cover that cost, as well.

Billy Breaux

District 23 representative

””campus improvements graphic

Crime

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

ABOB Community Theatre to present ‘Clue’

Local News

Exhibit of works of celebrated New Orleans painter opens at Historic City Hall

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: Here’s what’s happening

Local News

‘Get your creative juices flowing’ with Hook Nook Crafting

Local News

Fire Chief Harlow has intense love for public service

Local News

LABI head: State needs streamlined sales tax collection

Crime

R&B superstar R. Kelly convicted in sex trafficking trial

Crime

Leesville woman accused of stabbing boyfriend

Local News

Health care workers sue La. hospitals over vaccine mandate

Local News

Volunteer of Week: All of Bergeron family involved in community service

Local News

Gallery: Firefighter challenge

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Amendment No. 1 is winner

Crime

Residents taking insurance companies to city court

Local News

Coming back stronger: Davison talks BBBS rebound, recovery

Local News

Ruth Sullivan, pioneer in the study of autism, dies at 97

Local News

Pfizer booster shots now available to adults at increased risk

Crime

Driver arrested for drugs after passenger found dead in truck

Local News

From Moss Bluff to Diitabiki and back again

Crime

O’Brien sentenced to life for rape of child

Crime

Five accused of attempted ATM burglaries

Local News

I-10 bridge task force chair: Wednesday crash highlights need for new bridge

Local News

National Seat Check Saturday at Southwest Beverage

Crime

State Police investigating officer-involved fatal shooting of inmate