LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC)
Since opening in 1912, the Central School has been a staple in the Lake Charles community.
After closing as a school in the 1970s, it's since served as a breeding ground for local talent.
"Now it's an arts and cultural incubator," said Erica McCreedy, Executive Director of the Arts Council. "We have many arts offices here ... the Lake Charles Symphony, the Mardi Gras Museum, so it's this nice collective of artists and galleries for the Lake area."
Home to festivals, museums and other events, the Central School strives in its mission of making residents more culturally aware.
"We really try to bring people into Central School to teach them about the arts in the area as well as utilize the facility as an arts center," McCreedy said.
Being successful at attracting people to the facility has prompted the city and the school to explore plans of expanding their parking lot to accommodate more people.
After meeting with the Friends of the Central School Advisory Board, City Administrator John Cardone and the city agreed to expand the current parking lot to add an additional 18 spots, which he said will actually help preserve the historic grounds.
"Some of the events at Central School are overcrowded so we find a lot of people having to park in the grass and so it kills the grass and jeopardizes the safety of the trees," said Cardone. "A parking lot and 18 spaces that would designate additional parking for the grounds and the tenants of Central School."
Understanding the cultural and historical significance of the entire property, McCreedy thinks it's possible to come to a happy medium.
"It's important that we still address those responsibilities and tasks and duties that we have, at the same time maintaining its historic significance," she said. "Maintaining the greenery here, the landscaping, the trees, so there is a compromise that we have to make."