Schools that sustained most damage from Hurricane Laura set to open Thursday

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 8:10 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Some of the schools that took on the most damage from Hurricane Laura will finally reopen this week.

Barbe and Lagrange High Schools sustained most of the damage from Hurricane Laura. Monday, we got an update on the repairs that were made and the goals for this school year.

“We’re not close to where we should be starting school but it doesn’t matter, we just got to start school," said Barbe Principal Patrick Fontenot.

It’s a much different scene at Barbe High School compared to our first walkthrough on September 8, following Hurricane Laura.

“Wherever there was a flat roof, it was on the ground," Patrick said.

Much work has been done to get the school up and running for a late October start date.

“It’s a little surreal...When I first set foot on campus, I thought to myself we won’t be back to the start of 2021.”

While the work is still underway. With most being done in record time according to Fontenot...He says all the basic tools are in place for what was already going to be a much different school year.

“The most important thing we can do is be ready for Thursday. We’re not going to have all the bells and whistles. We may have to go old school with paper and pencil."

As far as classrooms, Fontenot says all ceilings have been. Improvements still have to be made to the school’s weight room which had the most water damage but it looks a whole lot different as opposed to 7 weeks ago.

“We took in rainwater after both storms. We lost the roof and temporary roof," said Calcasieu Alternative Site Principal Harold McDonald.

A different timeline though at the Calcasieu Alternative Site. Progress is being made to get students back in class mid-November.

“As soon as we can get everything organized and the technology set up and bring students back safely, we’re going to do so," Harold said.

McDonald says much of the progress made after laura was washed away with Delta but there still a bright side under all the devastation.

“We just got to get the HVAC system up and running," McDonald said. "All of this will go away once we get in the insulation and ceiling tiles. Well have kids here before you know it.”

Both Lagrange and Barbe are set to have in-person classes starting this Thursday.

Principal Fontenot says they’re expecting about 800 students on that first day of classes and Principal McDonald says they’re expecting about 50 students to show up at the Calcasieu Alternative Site when they open in November.

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