PPSB breaks ground on Phoenix SchoolNov 11th, 2010 | By Terri Sercovich | Category: news
After more than five years in the making, the Plaquemines Parish School Board broke ground on a permanent school building in Phoenix Monday.
The school will cost $27 million and house 500 students, said Phoenix School Principal John Barthelemy.
“The word phoenix means it rises from the ashes,” Barthelemy said. “Not only will we rise from the ashes of the storm, but we will rise from the ashes of inequities and incompetency.”
The school is long overdue in an area still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and where the students have been learning in mass-produced temporary school buildings.
“We’ve been struggling and struggling to get it together, but the time has come,” Barthelemy said. “In two years, School Board members, parents, students, the community, the parish and the state will have the opportunity to see what will become a reality as an outstanding place of learning,” Barthelemy said.
Superintendent of Schools Denis Rousselle shared the sentiment. The new Phoenix school, he said, will pave the way for the students of Eastbank Plaquemines.
“We have our first Head Start program that we’ve started here this year, and that’s laying the foundation for a great education for all of our students,” he said.
The school has been funded in large part by FEMA, which Rousselle said has facilitated the School Board along every step of the way.
“FEMA has been great to us,” Rousselle said. “A lot of people complain about FEMA, but let me tell you something. The Plaquemines Parish School Board does not have to complain about FEMA. Everything we’ve asked for we’ve gotten.”
According to Joseph Threat, director of FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Office, schools statewide have been sparkling like diamonds and the new Phoenix School will be no exception.
“I can tell you that I’ve been, in the last six months, rolling around the state looking at some of these new schools that are being built and they’re state of the art,” Threat said. “I can tell you this: I wish I had a school like this to go to when I was in school. I know it’s the envy of the United States.”
Phoenix’s new school is scheduled for completion in two years. Its entrance will face Highway 39.