Audubon Charter School has indefinitely postponed the renovations of its Broadway Street campus after its plan to use a lead-saturated site in the Lower Garden District for a temporary campus was deemed “unacceptable” by state officials, the school announced late Wednesday.
Lusher Charter School and several other charter schools in the city are continuing to negotiate with the Orleans Parish School Board over their governing agreement for the coming year, officials said Tuesday.
Lead levels in the soil at the proposed temporary site of Audubon Charter School are the highest one scientist has ever seen in New Orleans, but he assured a cafeteria packed with concerned, angry and sometimes unconvinced parents Thursday night that the remediation techniques he suggests will make the campus safe.
“This is the highest lead I’ve ever seen,” said Dr. Paul Lo, a certified lead inspector and lead risk assessor with Materials Management Group Inc., who has headed recent remediation efforts at playgrounds around the city. “But your children are not going to play on the existing conditions, and that’s a fact.”
The site proposed for Audubon’s temporary campus has lead contamination in the soil of the playground area exceeding federal standards by 10 times or more, prompting some parents to insist the entire site have the lead removed before their children arrive next fall.
The governing board of Lusher Charter School met with an attorney for an hour and a half in closed session Monday evening, coordinating strategies with other charter boards regarding the Orleans Parish School Board’s operating-agreement renewal process.
An antebellum mansion on Constance Street could become the Lower Garden District’s latest bed and breakfast after the neighborhood association gave the owner its blessing Monday night.
Neighborhood residents and Audubon Charter School parents got a first look Tuesday night at plans for the school’s proposed temporary campus in the Lower Garden District and began voicing concerns about the safety of the neighborhood, before a sudden downpour flooded the area and forced an early end to the meeting.
Amid the usual complement of civic meetings, this week marks the return of the NOPD monthly marches against crime with a Tuesday evening march through the Riverbend.
Also on Tuesday evening, Audubon Charter School will present its plans for a temporary campus for the next two years in the Lower Garden District.
See our calendar listings below for full details and links.
[Note: Correction appended, 9:01 a.m. March 23]
Audubon Charter School is considering building a temporary campus on a vacant lower Garden District lot to house students for the next two years while its Broadway campus is being renovated, officials said.
The lot is located at the corner of Orange and Constance streets, owned by the Kingsley House next door, said Jules Lagarde, design manager for Jacobs/CSRS, the engineering and architecture partnership managing the Boradway campus renovation. The tentative plan is to build two 12-classroom modular buildings — not double-wide trailers, Lagarde said, but full buildings with cafeterias and air-conditioning.
The Audubon Charter School community — parents, teachers and neighbors – got their first look Wednesday at what the Broadway campus will look like after expansion, even as officials continue to look for a temporary home for the Broadway students during the two-year construction project.
Most of the hundreds of attendees who turned out for a meeting on the future of Uptown school buildings wanted one of four things: renovations for Sophie B. Wright Charter School, a permanent commitment for Samuel J. Green Charter School, the reopening of the Mary Church Terrell campus in Gert Town or a new school in the Hoffman Triangle.
The former Allen School building on Loyola Avenue, meanwhile, is being sought by three different charter schools: Lusher, Audubon and the New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, its current occupant.
Audubon Charter School parents, teachers and neighbors literally applauded a new design for the expansion of the school’s Broadway campus on Wednesday night, but as more details began to emerge, so did more vocal concerns about traffic flow around the school as children come and go.
Ultimately, the streets on either side of the school may need to be made one-way, said one neighborhood leader.
The Audubon Elementary School has called a meeting for Wednesday, December 1st, at 6.30pm, to discuss plans for the development of the Audubon Elementary school building. At a previous meeting last month, parents, teachers, and neighborhood residents discussed a range of proposals for the expansion of the site, proposals which remain under consideration. The meeting will take place at 6.30pm in the Audubon School cafeteria at 428 Broadway.
Upcoming renovations to Audubon Charter School’s Broadway campus will add substantially to the building’s size, and the unsettled question of exactly how that addition will be configured was the subject of vigorous discussion Monday night at the school.
The school’s 10,000-square-foot expansion will be situated toward the rear of the campus, leaving the view of the historic school building nearly unaffected from Broadway Street, said architect Ron Blitch of Blitch/Knevel architects. The new portion will mostly face Pine Street and could be either a primarily one- or two-story building, a choice that dominated most of the evening’s discussion.
Site work has begun at Audubon Charter School’s Broadway Street campus even as the school continues planning for two-year project and awaiting word on where students will attend classes during its duration.
Engineering workers could be heard retrieving at Saturday morning’s meeting of the charter school board even as principal Janice Dupuy described the project.
“It is a total renovation,” Dupuy said. “We’re tearing out the walls and starting over.”
Uptown schools vary widely in both the quality of their instruction and their openness to the public, according to a pair of reports released this week.