cristo rey baton rouge

A year after flooding, Baton Rouge Catholic high school plans to open in modular buildings

Days after it opened, Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School was forced to abandon its flooded campus in 2016.

Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School, whose building was ruined by flooding last year just a few days after the school opened, will install modular buildings and hopes to reopen at its old site next month.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the Catholic high school plans to begin installing seven large modular buildings on its Baton Rouge, La., campus and is seeking to finish everything in time for the Aug. 7 start of school.

"Our team is currently working with FEMA to secure temporary modular buildings at our former North Baton Rouge site to reopen on our home campus in August," school officials said in a message. "We are extremely excited about returning home to Redemptorist this fall as we welcome 9th and 10 grade students for the school's second year."

The school, part of a network of 32 Catholic high schools across the nation, opened on Aug. 6, 2016, on the campus of the former Redemptorist High School, 95,000-square-foot facility. Six days later, floodwaters inundated the site with four feet of water, and Cristo Rey had to seek temporary space. The school spent 2016-17 in a building about two miles away that is owned by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation at the Bon Carre Technology Center, two miles south.

In the meantime, the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge concluded that the flood-damaged Redemporist campus was not worth salvaging. Officials decided to demolish the buildings on campus and donate the nearly 18 acres of land to Cristo Rey for it to build its own campus.

Brian Moscona, president of Cristo Rey Baton Rouge, says delays in demolishing the old school building has made it difficult for the university to recruit students for 2017-18. He says he expects to have at least 125 students this fall, all in ninth or 10th grades. Eventually, he hopes to grow enrollment to 400 to 450 students.

The Cristo Rey schools started in Chicago and are led by the Jesuit order. The network is noted for having its students work off campus at a white-collar job at least one full day each week.

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