DENHAM SPRINGS – Livingston Parish school officials will welcome Gov. John Bel Edwards, a congressman, state, parish and city officials to a little destruction on Tuesday.
It’s only going to be a small demolition, but it will have a big meaning, according to Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy.
“We’re going to celebrate, in one event, the rebuilding of 16 schools this summer and a demolition event to mark work on the first of the substantially damaged campuses, at Denham Springs Elementary,” Murphy said.
“We will be demolishing a piece of Denham Springs Elementary – a symbolic demolition – a T-building.
“I got a big backhoe, so it won’t be a problem,” he added.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is confirmed to attend the 9 a.m. ceremony, Murphy said, along with U.S. Congressman Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge; state Rep. J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs; and a host of parish and city dignitaries.
Tuesday will be the second anniversary of the high point of the Great Flood of 2016, when schools, home and businesses suffered flood levels as high as 8 to 10 feet, and rescue was the word of the day.
Recovery would come later.
Denham Springs Elementary, Southside Junior High and Southside Elementary were the most-damaged schools and have been closed since the flood.
All three schools were relocated to temporary campuses at other sites, but last week the school system got a decision from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Denham Springs Elementary and Southside Junior High can be demolished and rebuilt, with FEMA covering 90 percent of the cost.
“This is about celebrating this district’s recovery from the flood and beginning the rebuilding” of the hardest-hit schools, Murphy said.
The actual demolition of Denham Springs Elementary will come later, he said.
Those plans and the plans for the new school that will replace Denham Springs Elementary have to be approved by FEMA, Murphy said.
Demolition of Denham Springs Elementary, one of the oldest schools in the city, has spurred inquiries about the fate of the school’s brick.
“I got emails and phone call about it,” Murphy said. “We will see about people getting some pieces.”