Patterson poised for new junior high school

PATTERSON, La. — The City Council is poised to welcome construction of a new junior high school.

Last month, the council told the St. Mary Parish School system it wanted to see how a proposed new junior high school would be sited if the city and school system swapped tracts of land without using a 300-foot by 300-foot property the city discovered it could not donate or sell to the system.

Jim Firmin, a Morgan City architect, presented a diagram of how the new school could be located on the site if voters approve a $21 million, 20-year bond in the Oct. 19 election.

The design Firmin presented has the school facing Catherine Street with bus pickup and parking facing Twin Street along with car pickup and parking on First Street.

Donald Aguillard, school superintendent, said this morning that the design presented Tuesday night was “a general footprint of what we envision” and “the architect’s recommendation for the building configuration.”

Aguillard said a public meeting will be held to discuss the project on Oct. 8.

Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan said the new school construction will be accommodated by the city through a swap of 1.9 acres of city property for 1.8 acres of school board property. The school property has facilities on it such as a gym, kitchen and classroom that may be available to the city.

City attorney Russel Cremaldi told the council that per state law, the city would have to make a good faith effort to locate the heirs and successors of the person that sold the property to the city before a swap could be made. They would be given first opportunity to purchase the property at market value.

Grogan said the city had been asked to consider the transfer of a donated 300-foot-by-300-foot parcel of land to the school board.

Patrick Skiles, a Bayou Vista attorney, was retained by the city to research the issue. He said the terminology of the 1914 act of donation was contingent on the city keeping it for use as a public park or public playground; thereby taking it off the table.

“We need to have at least an abstract view of what (the school board) has planned,” Councilman John Rentrop said last month.

Grogan said the city would welcome the construction of a new school and predicts it will raise the values of homes in the city. New technology in the school would enhance the city’s attraction to newcomers, he said.

The council also introduced an ordinance to create the Patterson Lower Atchafalaya Cultural District. Grogan said the boundary will run generally from within the city limits.

The ordinance includes language that would prohibit issuing any permits for mobile or modular homes to be placed within the boundaries of the cultural district. Current homes will not be affected but will be “grandfathered in,” Grogan said. Mobile home parks in existence at the implementation of the ordinance would not be allowed to expand or move in additional trailers.

Grogan said there will be a public hearing on the ordinance at the council’s next meeting on Oct. 1.

The mayor and council gave local celebrity, Isaac White, 15, a junior at Patterson High School, a standing ovation in demonstration of their pride in his accomplishments and stellar representation of the city with his acting and singing.

“Isaac has made all of Patterson proud,” Grogan said. White has a significant acting part in the box-office attraction, “The Butler.” Grogan said White will be featured in the October issue of O Magazine.

Grogan issued the teen a proclamation of the city’s pride in him and handed him the keys to the city.

“Don’t worry, they don’t open anything,” Grogan said of the keys amid laughter.

In other matters:

—The mayor discussed his plans for submitting a $500,000 block grant request for water lines improvements that he said would upgrade the city’s fire protection. Those improvements would also include some street resurfacing. Grogan said that housing grants can no longer be included in the Louisiana Community Block Grant Program applications.

—Two ordinances were amended and reenacted to address standards of sidewalk construction along with requiring subsurface drainage in new developments. Public Works Director Steve Bierhorst said the modifications are needed “to make Patterson a more beautiful city.”

—Adopted an ordinance amending and reenacting the code regarding garbage and trash collection. Residents will be required to use at least a 35-gallon trash can. Bierhorst encouraged residents to use the city-provided 90-gallon carts.

Grogan said, “Trash collection is provided at no extra cost to people who have garbage collection.” But this additional service is not meant to include collection of trash from undeveloped sites, he said.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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Morgan City Daily Review
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