Dec 092013

The Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans campus on Patton Street.

The Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans campus on Patton Street.

As Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans continues to grow into the upper grades next year, the charter school’s governing board making plans to expand into the St. Paul’s United Church of Christ building on the same block.

The French-immersion charter school will add a fourth grade next year, bringing its total number of classrooms to 21. The current facility in the St. Francis of Assisi church on Patton Street could probably accommodate those students, but not the 27 classrooms projected to be needed in the 2015-2016 school year, Jones said.

Jones has been talking to the St. Paul’s church, which sits on the opposite corner of the same block of Patton Street, and proposes leasing their second-floor space next year with minimal renovations. Most of it, she said, would be used for offices — freeing up space for classrooms in the main building — but one or two classrooms might be placed there as well, she said.

The subsequent two years, Lycee would lease progressively more space from St. Paul’s, Jones suggested. But at that point, Lycee would still run out of room again, so the search for a long-term secondary campus should continue, Jones said.

This is the first year that Lycee has participated in the citywide OneApp enrollment process, and early signs are that demand for the school is strong, said CEO Keith Bartlett. The school has already received 232 applications, 118 of which are for kindergarten, and the main enrollment period is in January, Bartlett said.

“This gets us through 2017,” Jones said.

St. Paul’s church currently uses the space for visiting volunteer groups, Jones said, so Lycee needs to make a decision soon.

“St. Paul’s is not going to wait forever for us, so we wanted to make sure we got the ball rolling,” Jones said.

The only concern expressed by a parent at the meeting was the lack of outdoor space for kids to play in, a problem that the Patton Street campus already has. Without further discussion, the board voted unanimously in favor of sending a letter of intent to St. Paul’s to move forward with the lease negotiations.

The school also discussed a handful of other items, including requiring six hours of annual training for board members and moving the development and admissions contracts to in-house positions. To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below.

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