Lusher Charter School leaders are meeting with engineers and consultants in preparation to major repairs at both of its school buildings, while continuing to look for more space for students at the satellite campus.
Engineers and architects are working all over the Fortier building on Freret as they plan for repairs there, officials said. Principal Wiley Ates said he hopes the first item repaired will be the roof, since the majority of water damage around the rest of the campus comes from its problems, and the work could be begun without displacing students.
“They could do that without interrupting school or anything else,” Ates said at Saturday morning’s meeting of the Lusher governing board. “We’ve found that the roof is the biggest part of the problem, more than the windows or the bricks.”
Renovations to the Willow Street campus are still at a more preliminary stage, with school officials and consultants just meeting for the first time. Lusher board president Blaine LeCesne praised principal Sheila Nelson for compiling specific list of needed repairs that directly relate to the citywide standard of “safe, warm and dry,” and said the consultants seemed receptive to her ideas.
“They’re just looking at the most cost-efficient way to do it that’s also aesthetically consistent with that historic building,” LeCesne said.
“I’m hopeful that the big items at both sites are going to be handled,” Lusher CEO Kathy Riedlinger said.
Meanwhile, the search for more space for four classes of students currently at the Jewish Community Center is ongoing, Riedlinger said. After two years of accepting students there, Lusher reduced its incoming class size back to the 100 kindergarten students at Willow Street, because no more classrooms were available at the JCC. Riedlinger said that as she continues to explore options for more space that could even “recoup” those two lost sections, she will be revisiting sites in January that had previously been ruled out.
To read live coverage of Saturday’s meeting, see below.