Progress continues to be made on the new, state-of-the-art K-8 campus being constructed to replace the two Southside schools that were wrecked during the August 2016 flood.
Roughly one year after ground broke on the project, school administrators and district leaders took a tour of the future “mega campus” site. Southside Junior High officials later posted photos to social media of the construction taking place.
“Making progress quickly!!!!” the post said.
Livingston Parish Public Schools Superintendent Joe Murphy said construction is still set to conclude sometime in the summer of 2022. The hope is for students to move to the campus for the 2022-23 school year.
The Southside schools are two of three Livingston Parish schools that have yet to return to their permanent campus in the wake of the Great Flood of 2016.
Southside Junior High and Southside Elementary currently occupy temporary facilities on the grounds of Juban Parc Junior High and Juban Parc Elementary, respectively. Denham Springs Elementary’s temporary campus is next to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
The three school sites, all in the Denham Springs school district, were deemed “substantially damaged” by FEMA, meaning 50 percent of the structure’s value was damaged. Per FEMA requirements, the schools had to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up.
And up they go.
Construction is nearly complete at the new Denham Springs Elementary campus, which will be the district’s first two-story elementary school. It is being rebuilt on its original site on North Range Avenue in Denham Springs at a price tag of roughly $15 million. Murphy said the campus should welcome students in January.
When the doors officially open, Denham Springs Elementary students will learn in a two-story, 80,000-square-foot facility, up from the 55,000 square feet in the now-demolished buildings.
Meanwhile, the new Southside campus is being built at a price tag of roughly $45 million on the 27-acre site of the former Southside Junior High on Highway 16.Southside Elementary was originally located on Range Avenue, but that property was converted into the Denham Springs High School STEM and Robotics Center in 2019.
The main entrances of both schools will face Highway 16. The elementary campus, which will occupy the right-facing side of campus, will accommodate 700 students, while the junior high will accommodate 1,000 students on the left-facing side of campus.
At the Southside mega campus — which has to be big enough to house two schools — students will learn in a site that will span 185,000 square feet.
“It’s going to be huge,” Murphy said of the Southside campus during a podcast with The News earlier this year.