Both the Fortier campus on Freret Street and the Willow Street campus are slated for a round of renovations that school officials refer to as “refurbishment” — primarily focused on sealing the building’s roofs, exterior walls and windows against water intrusion. Lusher officials hope construction will begin in the summer, and know that it will displace students in the parts of the buildings being worked on during the next school year.
Rather than moving students to another campus, Lusher officials sought to have modular classrooms installed at both sites to cycle students through during construction periods. At their last meeting, Orleans Parish School Board officials approved that plan, Lusher CEO Kathy Riedlinger reported to the charter school’s governing board on Saturday morning meeting.
“The ball should be rolling now to get that work started this summer, and we’re very excited,” Riedlinger said.
At the lower school, this will require demolition of two houses on the corner of Jeanette and Lowerline that the school bought last fall to make room for the portables, Riedlinger said. She has already notified the presidents of the nearby Maple Area Residents Inc. and Central Carrollton Association groups, she said, and hopes to have the demolition complete by the end of May.
Once construction is complete, Riedlinger said she is unsure what the use of those corner lots would be. They could be converted to green space, she suggested, or the school may find some other use for the space in the meantime.
At the high school campus, the modulars will be placed in the interior courtyard, said principal Wiley Ates. A series of decks will be built to keep them off the ground and to allow students to walk between them and the main building even during wet weather, he said. Riedlinger said the plan is to have the modulars completely installed at Fortier by July 1.
School officials do not know when exactly construction will begin, but hope to have both campuses ready over the summer, so that contractors do not have to wait on the school for any reason in order to start their work, Riedlinger said.
Construction will likely bring some changes next year the school’s major annual fundraiser, the Lusher Crawfish Boil (which is underway today at the Fortier campus), Riedlinger said, because both campuses will be under construction next year.
“Maybe a new idea will be born for the crawfish boil,” she said.