Safety problems block Louisiana private school from opening at new site in Lafayette

March 8, 2019
T.M. Landry College Prep School has moved out of its site in Beaux Bridge, but the fire marshal won't allow the school to open at its new site until safety deficiencies are addressed.

A private prep school's plan to relocate to Lafayette, La., from Beaux Bridge has been halted after a fire marshal ordered safety improvements.

The Acadiana Advocate reports that until the improvements are made, 75 K-12 students at T.M. Landry College Prep School will be without a place to attend class.

Greg Davis, chairman of Landry Prep's board, learned late Wednesday that a former skating rink on Moss Street in Lafayette where school officials planned to hold classes starting Monday can't be occupied at all until safety improvements are made and approved by the State Fire Marshal's Office.

"We have to find somewhere else for our students to have class until we are able to do the things that this fire marshal is requiring," Davis says. "Right now we do not have a facility."

Last week, school officials started moving into the Lafayette site from a building about seven miles away in Breaux Bridge. 

The Lafayette Daily Advertiser reports that the state fire marshal determined in December 2017 that the Beaux Bridge facility was not in compliance with safety codes. The state allowed the school to remain in the building for more than a year, but ultimately informed Landry Prep officials that they had until March 8 to move out of the Breaux Bridge location or come up with a plan of action for bringing it into compliance.

School officials said renovating the building in Breaux Bridge would be too expensive and instead sought a new location for the campus.

Landry Prep officials say they were told when they chose the Moss Street site that they could hold classes in the front half of the building while safety improvements were made to the rear of the building.

"For the first time today I heard they would not let us occupy at all until all the work was done," Davis says.

Ashley Rodrigue, spokeswoman for the fire marshal's office, says state law requires the school to submit plans for the safety improvements, which it has. The plans are under review. If approved, the school must do the work outlined in the plan and pass inspection by the fire marshal's office before the building can be occupied.

School representatives were advised last week of the procedures they have to follow in order to occupy the building, Rodrigue says.

The architect's plans call for dividing the building into three "fire areas," each less than 12,000 square feet and each having an exit. This avoids the need to install a sprinkler system in the school. A two-hour fire partition will be built, and two 90-minute rated hollow metal doors and frames will be installed, according to the plans. The school also is supposed to install a fire alarm system that will provide enhanced early detection.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

Sponsored Recommendations