Calcasieu Parish School Board approves ‘pod’ buildings

Calcasieu Parish School Board approves ‘pod’ buildings

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - As southwest Louisiana continues to grow, schools in Calcasieu Parish are getting crowded. The solution? Extra classrooms.

In recent years, the Calcasieu Parish School Board has built several pod buildings adding 128 classrooms. Just last week, the school board approved more pods, which would add 56 more classrooms to the district.

“Moss Bluff is growing, they’ve been growing for years and years now and we’re just running out of space here,” Principal of Sam Houston, Shannon Foolkes, said.

Pods are buildings that look like any other, and create more room for students and staff at schools like Sam Houston High School.

“We have some itinerary teachers that are sharing classrooms and, we just needed the space,” Foolkes said.

What sets these buildings apart, according to the school board’s Chief Financial Officer Wilfred Bourne, is these buildings can take less than a year to build. They’re also much cheaper, not requiring a tax hike to fund.

“We borrow money, basically issue some bonds, borrow that money, and pay it back with head tax money. This time around, we’re doing it with a combination of that money and some money that was allocated to a capital projects fund from our general fund,” Bourne said.

According to the school board, Sam Houston has seen an increase of more than 80 students over the last three years, a lot of those students within the last year. The school already has 5 pods, and they’re getting another one built which will add 16 classrooms to their campus.

“The cohesiveness of these pods is huge for our teachers. With the 5 pods that we have right now, the teachers can collaborate, they can talk to one another about english, science, math or social studies," Foolkes said. "I think it’s huge just to have our teachers in one location together by each department.”

The project was just voted on this week, which means the construction start date has not yet been decided.

Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.