Lycée Français nearing purchase agreement for Priestley campus, officials say

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The front door of the Priestley school building in west Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The front door of the Priestley school building in west Carrollton. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans officials expect to sign a purchase agreement with the Orleans Parish School Board for the old Priestley campus in west Carrollton within a week or two, launching a 90-day evaluation period before the sale becomes final.

The OPSB sent a purchase agreement to Lycee a few weeks ago, and they have since traded drafts with proposed revisions, said Lycee board member Tim Gray. The items being discussed are relatively minor, Gray said, and should be ironed out within two weeks.

“I didn’t have that many comments on their draft,” Gray said. “There were no big points of contention. We’re moving full speed ahead.”

Once the purchase agreement is signed by both sides, he said, the school will have 90 days to investigate the building and the campus. Gray recommended routine title work, but said the school will need to decide how deep a structural investigation they should perform — at some point, he said, that task bleeds into the actual architectural work of planning a new school. They will also have to make environmental surveys, he said, for hazards such as asbestos and lead.

Lycee will have to make a $25,000 deposit as part of the agreement, but that sum is refundable in the unlikely event, Gray said, that Lycee makes any discoveries during that period that cause it to abandon the Priestley plan.

“We don’t think we’re going to change our minds,” Gray said.

Gray’s update on the Priestley project came at the end of a brief meeting Monday night of the school’s governing board. Other items of note included:

  • CEO Keith Bartlett shared the results of an annual financial evaluation by the state Department of Education which says Lycee “fails to meet expectations.” That report is based on the budget woes of the previous school year, Bartlett said, and officials are aware of the improvements Lycee has made since then.
  • The admissions team has been concentrating its outreach efforts in the west Carrollton neighborhood, and will hold an open house there later this month. The school has already been selected by 56 kindergarten families in the first week of the OneApp enrollment system, he said.

To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below:

Live Blog Lycee Francais board meeting – Nov. 10, 2014

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