Registrar of Voters Jared Andrews April 2021 early

Registrar of Voters Jared Andrews says that early voting will begin Apr. 10 and run through Mar. 17, but not on Sunday. Both the Registrar's Office in Livingston and the Denham Springs Walker branch will be open, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., for the event.

It won't be a packed ballot for the second of two spring elections, but the ballot measure will be important for the second-largest high school in the state.

The measure on the ballot, an 'up to $13 million bond issuance' for the Denham Springs School District, will require a renewal of an 8.64 mill tax which has been on the books since 2007. The initial tax funds were used to construct Juban Parc Elementary and Junior High.

Now, should the bond pass, the system will use the bond funds to build new sports facilities on campus - the first such investment in sports facilities for Denham Springs High School in over 65 years.

And, as school board members, school faculty, administration, and students continue to state, 'this is not a new tax.' The new bond will be 20 years.

So far, four coaches have interviewed with the News to give their perspective on the election, which you can watch below.

Denham Springs High School Athletic Director and head football coach Brett Beard discusses the upcoming tax renewal on the spring ballot and what new sports facilities could mean for the school and future of sports programs.

Denham Springs High School softball coach Leslie Efferson discusses what new facilities could do to vault her program to the next level - and simply provide the bare necessities for her teams.

Denham Springs High School head baseball coach Mark Carroll discusses the benefits of new facilities for his team, which is on the docket if a tax on April 24 is renewed.

Denham Springs High School track and field head coach Andy Mclean discusses the upcoming millage renewal for the school district and the facilities that can provide for the school.

Track and field, as well as cross country coach, Andy McLean lead off the interviews with the simple statement that his team had no facilities on campus to host a meet, and but a small area outside the football complex with which to practice.

It didn't make McLean feel any better that this year, 2021, was to be the year Denham Springs was supposed to host the parish meet - an annual event where all nine high schools compete on one campus. McLean thanked Walker for their hospitality, but believed his school missed out on a huge opportunity - and will continue without the necessary facilities.

Leslie Efferson and Mark Carroll, the respective softball and baseball coaches, had a similar appreciation for North Park who have worked with the school to provide facilities in season.

But out of season? Neither coach has any say on how the fields are used, or maintained. A tough situation for any coach, and especially limiting during the offseason and an arrangement that requires extra 'elbow grease' before the season starts to get the fields back in playing order.

Safety was another issue brought up by the first three coaches. In some instances, athletes must travel even for just practice, which can create long-term issues with traffic and consistently exposes students to accidents.

Backup weather facilities, as well as proper locker rooms, rounded out the list of issues for the baseball and softball coaches.

Finally, Athletic Director and head football coach Brett Beard had but one statement to make regarding the current state of facilities.

"Adequate is not good enough," Beard said.

Beard cited millages and tax bases in rival school districts, including neighbors Walker and Live Oak, and the money they have invested in on-field facilities and expansion.

"This is Denham Springs High School, we're supposed to set the standard," Beard said.

All coaches were excited by the prospect of keeping the sporting events on-campus, as well, giving a rise to more participation in fanship for track, baseball, and softball.

Election day for the bond issuance will be April 24, with early voting beginning this Saturday, April 10 from 8:39 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, but not Sunday, through April 17. Both the Registrar of Voter's Office as well as the Denham Springs - Walker Branch library satellite location will be open to the public.

Masks and social distancing will be required.

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