With a new playground awarded, French charter school looks to future facility plans

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Volunteers work in June on a KaBOOM! playground at Palmer Park. (Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com)

With a KaBOOM! playground on the way to its Claiborne Avenue campus, the new French-immersion charter school opening this month in Uptown New Orleans is set to discuss longer-term planning for a home for its students at a meeting Monday.

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans will have students at two locations this year, the First Presbyterian Church on South Claiborne Avenue and at Audubon Zoo. The Claiborne location, where three classes of 3- and 4-year-olds will attend, has recently been awarded a grant for a KaBOOM! playground, principal Jill Otis said in an email to parents.

“We are currently in discussions with KaBOOM! about a build date and will soon be soliciting parents to help select the equipment and plan for the installation at our Claiborne Avenue campus,” Otis wrote. “According to KaBOOM! guidelines, parents, children, and community members must all be involved in the planning for the playground.”

Fundraisers for the project will begin soon, as the school community must also generate at least $9,000 for the equipment. The email credits the award to “the persistent efforts of Lycée Français parent and English teacher Darleen Mipro,” and note that the funding will come from Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.

Lycée Français has a three-year lease at First Presbyterian, but its lease at Audubon Zoo is only for the coming year, officials have said. The school will be adding two first-grade classes as well as two or more additional kindergarten classes in its second year, so more space will be needed even if the Audubon lease is renewed, and much of the agenda for Monday night’s meeting reflects the need to search for more space.

The board is creating a facility committee chaired by board member Allen Kelly and including Ken Charity, Hal Fairbanks, developer Jim MacPhaille and an additional member, the agenda states. MacPhaille’s wife, Catherine MacPhaille, is also being nominated for the Lycée Français board.

3 thoughts on “With a new playground awarded, French charter school looks to future facility plans

  1. Although my son won’t be at this campus, it’s exciting to see this new school coming together. I feel so lucky to be a part of a new school such as this and it’s amazing to see how much work has been done since they were awarded their charter (less than a year ago); it makes me feel confident that the Lycee will have accomplished many things in years to come.

  2. That’s great how the Claiborne location of the Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans school has been awarded a grant for a KaBOOM! playground; and that the parents, children, and community members will be involved in the planning for it!

  3. My daughter will be at Lycee this fall. There are so many motivated and brilliant folks working on this project. It’s very encouraging. I can’t wait until they find a permanent home for the school.

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