denhamelem Livingston Parish Public Schools
Flooding gutted the interior of Denham Springs Elementary School.

Louisiana district gets OK from FEMA to rebuild 2 flood-damaged schools

The Livingston Parish district says it will proceed with plans to replace an elementary and a junior high that were severely damaged in an August 2016 flood.

After two years of negotiations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Livingston Parish (La.) School Board has received the go-ahead to demolish and rebuild two schools severely damaged in a 2016 flood.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the district can move forward with plans to replace all but the multipurpose room at Denham Springs Elementary School, and all but the band room at Southside Junior High School.

The band and multipurpose buildings were newer and had less damage from the August 2016 flood. Both schools are in Denham Springs.

Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy says designs are not yet set, but he anticipates elevating all of the structures on fill and using cinder block instead of sheet rock, so the structures will be more resilient in case of another disaster. 

Murphy said once he gets approval for Southside Elementary School, which is expected soon, it will take from 2½ to 3 years to rebuild.

Students have been learning in temporary buildings since the flood nearly two years ago. 

The Livingston Parish School Board announced earlier this week that it has finished repairs at 16 of the 19 schools damaged during the catastrophic 2016 flooding. The work involved $55 million in work to replace hundreds of classroom floors, walls, electrical systems, furniture and computers.

The school district anticipates the total cost of flood repairs at $100 million.

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