May 15, 2013 7:19 PM by Chris Welty
"Demolish and re-build Patterson Junior High" is an engineer's recommendation to the St. Mary Parish School Board.
To re-build, the board is asking Patterson residents to approve a 15-mil property tax which would generate about twenty-one million dollars over the next twenty years.
Cracked tiles, walls separating and other issues plague Patterson Junior High. The school is sixty years old and would cost millions to repair.
"There are many things that just feasibly cannot be fixed," says Principal Suzanne Bergeron.
Patterson Junior High has roughly 500 students. Over the years, the campus has seen an influx of students and is running out of space.
"We're looking to build a safe, educationally sound building that's futuristic and will accommodate the growth coming into the community," said Bergeron.
Since 2004, the school board has funneled money into maintaining and repairing the campus. It's beyond repair and would cost more to fix the problems than to build new. Superintendent Donald Aguillard says voting for the property tax is the last option to give students a technologically advanced school.
"We have to provide children of patterson with a safe educational environment. We have to be able to do that the next 50 to 60 years and this building is not getting us where we need to be," said Aguillard.
If the property tax passes, Hattie Watts Elementary will receive a new multi-use facility.
Voters will head to the polls October 19th.