Aug 2, 2013 7:20 PM by Chris Welty

LHS Renovations Coming into Question

Major renovations are underway at Lafayette High School, but some are questioning if the campus will be ready for the first day of school.

Since class let out in May, crews have been replacing floors and cleaning mold. Some classrooms were completely gutted and remodeled.

Thad Welch, Special Assistant to Superintendent Doctor Pat Cooper, is confident Lafayette High will be ready for the first day of school. He says, this has been one of the largest projects in the district and there's a lot of work to finish.

"It's a challenge. It's taking day and night to do it, but we're giving it our all," said Welch.

Board Member Greg Awbrey toured the campus nearly two weeks ago and says, "You've got things in the hallways, everything is out of those rooms that are getting floors, everything is out of the band and choir rooms."

Awbrey says on his tour, he saw classrooms not ready as well as a sinkhole in the commons area. He says he is frustrated with how construction and renovations are being handled; mainly, the new ac units installed in the band and choir rooms.

"They're not looking at the campus with the administrators and the board isn't learning about these things until they're already installed," said Awbrey.

One of Awbrey's concerns is how large and loud the air conditioners are in the band and choir room. We asked Thad Welch why they were installed and he says they made a mistake.

"I would have loved to put a roof mount unit on it and I would have rather done. It is something that slipped by us all," said Welch.

Awbrey says he was told the campus will be ready for August 13th, the day before school starts. He says that doesn't give teachers time to get their classrooms ready and he's concerned about safety.

"I'm saying the school will be ready for the first day of class. It will be cleaned and maintained," said Welch.

Sound barriers will be installed to help reduce the noise from the ac units in the band and choir rooms. Superintendent Pat Cooper maintains Welch is doing a good job and says Lafayette High will be ready to open on August 14th.

Earlier this week, the fire marshal's office inspected Lafayette High to make sure the campus is up to code. During the tour, they noticed the new ac units in the band and choir rooms didn't have smoke detectors installed inside the units.

"Because of the size of the units, it's required to have a duct detector inside the units in case there's some kind of fire or malfunction with the system." said Lafayette Fire Department Public Information Officer Alton Trahan. "It was at that point in time, they didn't notify our office that they were installing those types of units."

The contractor, Bernhard has since fixed that problem, but they were fined because they didn't apply for a permit with planning and codes. The company says they didn't think they needed a permit since they were switching out old units.

Chris Welty



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