State school officials have discovered termite damage to the Sophie B. Wright cafeteria and auditorium that is so extensive that those areas must be closed off immediately, creating a “public emergency” that must be fixed immediately — starting at an emergency meeting of the Orleans Parish School Board at 10 a.m. Thursday.
“Recovery School District staff have determined that said termite damage poses an immediate and significant risk to the health and safety of school students and employees, thereby creating an emergency situation,” according to a resolution that will be proposed in the meeting. “[I]n order to protect the health and safety of the students, the above-described areas have been closed off and are no longer accessible for any use whatsoever, including the provision of food service to students … [T]he Orleans Parish School Board recognizes the enormous challenges that have arisen from an interruption in the food services provided to the children of Sophie B. Wright Charter School, especially considering that the school provides its own food service.”
Principal Sharon Clark said the students can remain in the school while the repairs are being done, and that the issue is no cause for panic.
“It is not active termites,” Clark said. “It is the damage that was done a while back and the rot it caused. They will work on shoring up the auditorium.”
Declaring the issue a public emergency allows the OPSB to bypass its normal bid processes, which can take months, and immediately procure a contract for repairs.
The meeting will be at 10 a.m. Thursday (March 21) at the school board offices at 3520 General DeGaulle Drive, in Suite 4050.
Sophie B. Wright is slated for full renovations over the course of the next two years, during which time the students will be housed at the Johnson building in West Carrollton.
[This article was first published at 1:39 a.m. Thursday and updated at 10:21 a.m. with Clark's comment.]