Jan 19, 2011 11:30 PM by Maddie Garrett

LPSB Moves Forward with Plans to Renovate N.P. Moss

Plans are getting underway for the transition of N.P. Moss Middle School to Thibodeaux Technical and Career High School. Wednesday night the Lafayette Parish School Board made a very preliminary, but important decision. The board authorized the administration to look for an architectural firm that would make changes at N.P. Moss.

"It is the intent of this board to implement that plan to the best outcome that we can with the funds that are at our disposal," said Rae Trahan, LPSB Member, District 9.

That plan is renovate and expand N.P. Moss as part of its transition into the new technical and career high school. It's a vote that was welcome after a long process of deciding to close N.P. Moss to use it as the Thibodeaux Tech site because of the middle school's low performance.

"This is all positive, this is extremely positive for the kids in the district," said Trahan.

Wednesday night's vote will allow the administrative staff to advertise for an architectural firm. Then the staff would come back to the school board with a recommendation for an architectural service, project description, a proposed budget and funding sources.

And even though construction won't start for another year or two, Chief Financial Officer Billy Guidry said they've got to get the design going now because students will start at the new Thibodeaux Tech next fall.

"We want the minimum amount of interruption once the construction starts as far as the students go so it's critical that we get the architects involved now," explained Guidry.

The project's budget is also uncertain. Although Guidry said $20 million is a very rough estimate that came from the facilities study. Paying for it could come from selling sales tax bonds and other funds.

"There may be other options but it depends on the scope of the project and the estimated cost," said Guidry.

But for now the first step is finding an architectural firm that fits the needs of the Lafayette Parish Schools System and then bringing those designs and estimates before the school board. Any other progress will have to be approved by the board as well.


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