The following is a news release from the Cameron Parish School Board:
CAMERON, La. – The Cameron Parish School Board, along with officials from both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), celebrated recovery progress yesterday afternoon in Cameron Parish with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the site of the school board's new administrative facility located at 510 Marshall Street.
"Today, we are celebrating the true partnership of FEMA, GOHSEP and the Cameron Parish School Board," said Cameron Parish School Board Superintendant Stephanie Rodrigue. "There has been so much good to come from this partnership over the last nearly five years, but this day is truly significant, as it a brings the true sense of permanent recovery to fruition. We look forward to our celebrations in the very near future, as our permanent school constructions and repairs are also completed."
The new, $4.5 million FEMA-funded facility replaces the original administrative building that was destroyed during Hurricane Rita.
"The completion of this project is a recovery milestone for the Cameron Parish school district," said Andre Cadogan, FEMA Louisiana Recovery Office Deputy Director of Programs. "At an elevation of approximately 17 feet, this facility has returned to the community in a manner that makes it stronger than it was pre-Rita."
As it did pre-Rita, the new school board administration building will service as the "central office" for staff members and provide a facility for public meetings held by the school board administration.
To date, FEMA has provided nearly $58.6 million in public assistance grants to the Cameron Parish School Board for recovery work related to restoring their Rita-damaged facilities.
When FEMA approves projects through its supplemental Public Assistance grant, the funds are transferred to a federal Smartlink account. Once the funds have reached this account, the applicant can request reimbursement from GOHSEP for eligible work completed.
Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) Executive Director Robin Keegan said, "We believe that education is the foundation of our recovery. Statewide, the LRA has obligated more than $243 million in 13 parishes through our Primary and Secondary Education infrastructure program. Educators have long said that up-to-date school buildings foster a healthy learning environment, and this beautiful school administration facility in Cameron Parish embodies that philosophy."
The Public Assistance program works with state and local officials to fund recovery measures and the rebuilding of government and certain private nonprofit organizations' buildings, as well as roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In order for the process to be successful, federal, state and local partners coordinate to draw up project plans, fund these projects and oversee their completion.
Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, the LRA is the coordinating and planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the LRA works closely with the GOHSEP and partners with state and federal agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.