"There is still a lot to do," said Jackie Sharp, Webster Parish School Board Interim Superintendent. "We are not ready for school to start tomorrow, but we will be ready by the time school starts."
To prepare for the fast-approaching school year, the WPSB approved $10 million in bonds for the construction of Doyline school, which will house grades K-12 starting this school year, as a result of consolidation.
"Doyline is coming along and we will have another meeting Monday morning to look at the final floor plan," Sharp said.
Temporary buildings will be brought to the Doyline campus to house students until construction is complete.**
According to Sharp, construction has started on restroom maintenance at Phillips and is proceeding on schedule, and dirt work has been laid for Pre-K buildings. Fiberbond has informed Sharp the Pre-K buildings are approximately a week ahead of schedule.
Consolidation calls for Pre-K in the Minden area to be housed at the Phillips campus.
"They (buildings) will still not be ready for the first day of school, (we are discussing) how we will handle our Pre-K at the beginning of the school year," Sharp said. "Hopefully, we will have some empty space at Phillips we can utilize until those buildings are in place."
Sharp also informed the board that asbestos abatement has begun at Stewart Elementary and it will take about 10 or 11 days to complete.
"There will be two or three days (after the abatement) for anything else we need to get off that campus," Sharp said, listing items such as a fence to be moved to Harper, play ground equipment to be moved to Phillips Pre-K and a slide to be moved to Jones before Stewart is demolished.
In addition to moving items from Stewart, School Food Services is also moving, as well as teachers and faculty of schools moving into their new locations.
School Food Services department will be moving from the central office to the educational building.
"Normally where the central office would have paper stored, there is flour," Sharp said. "Moving that department over to the achievement center allows food services to have office space and storage space all in one location. I think that will be an effective move since the building is still operational."
Sharp praised maintenance crews, teachers, principals, and other staff for working diligently this summer to prepare the parish for the upcoming school year.
"If you have driven past schools, you might have thought school was in session," Sharp said. "They have been working very hard to get everything where it needs to be and ready for the start of school."
Also making efforts to ensure success are principals and supervisors who are in Oregon this week attending a Safe and Civil School's conference.
"They are having a good experience there," Sharp said. "They're learning more about a program which we began to implement in our schools last year."
Sharp said faculty can't be praised enough for working together to make this school year a success.
"The teachers cannot be given enough credit for all the work they have done this summer," she said. "They have new assignments, many of them are assignments they did not particularly want, but they have accepted it and are making the very best of the situation and really working hard. I am so proud of them and the principals, as well."
Community members can help prepare students for school by contributing to two Back to School Bashes.
Springhill will have a Bash on August 7, while Minden's Bash is on the eighth.
In addition to the Bashes, this year "Pack the Bus" will be held to help collect school supplies for the Bashes.
In Minden, buses will be located at Minden Police Station and Wal-Mart on July 28 and 29.
"We are working to see if we can have a bus placed in the north end of the parish, as well," Sharp said. "So far, that permission has not been granted, but we are working on it."
Other work ahead for the central office includes several meetings next week to further implement consolidation, one of which will focus on scheduling the start and end times for schools.
The board's superintendent search committee will also meet next week on the fifteenth to continue the process of securing a superintendent for the upcoming school year.
**Editors Note: Watch the Minden Press-Herald for more information regarding Doyline's bond.