New EBR Elementary School sets a construction date

Another 21st century school designed by GraceHebert Architects in association with DLR Group. This is the same team that designed Baton Rouge's first 21st century school, Lee High School, for the district.

February construction start expected for school replacing Jefferson Terrace Elementary

The Advocate

November 25, 2018

Jefferson Terrace Elementary is slated to be rebuilt on 20 acres of nearby vacant property, with construction scheduled to begin in February.

Students will likely leave their current campus on Cal Road for a new school on Azrok Avenue a few blocks away in August 2020. The new, two-story building will hold nearly twice as many students as Jefferson Terrace does now, accommodating middle-schoolers in addition to elementary school pupils. Enrollment is expected to reach 830 students, up from its current 420.

Voters approved a new school for the property in 2008 when they renewed a 1-cent sales tax earmarked for education. The project name has been variously “Jefferson Home Sites” or "Jefferson Homesite,” but residents will get a chance to settle on the best name for the planned school at a public forum at 6:30 p.m. Monday inside the school at 9902 Cal Road.

The new facility is being designed by GraceHebert Architects of Baton Rouge in collaboration with Omaha-based DLR Groups. GraceHebert and DLR jointly designed Lee High, which was recently rebuilt and reopened in 2016.

Residents and parents heard a presentation on the plans for the school at a forum Sept. 10, and the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board received the plans last week.

Marcus Williams, program director with CSRS/Tillage Construction, the private partnership that oversees most school construction in Baton Rouge, did the talking.

“I went to Jefferson Terrace so this project is of personal interest to me,” Williams told the board.

Williams showed a series of artist renderings of the new school. Like Lee High, and the new Park Elementary which is under construction, the new Jefferson Terrace is being designed as a 21st Century school.

Williams showed pictures of "collaborative spaces,” both indoor and outdoor, with removable partitions dividing rooms. The areas will be outfitted with mobile interactive whiteboards and movable furniture.

A key feature of the school: open “learning suites” instead of traditional classrooms.

“You have six classrooms clustered around a common space and restrooms so that students won’t have to leave to get their core classwork,” Williams said.

Williams said that construction bids have yet to be advertised for the project, but he expects a bid opening sometime in February with a contract awarded to the winning bidder later that month.

The 20 acres where the new school is to be built are behind the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana offices off Bluebonnet Boulevard and about three blocks from the current elementary school. Both the Cal Road property and the 20 acres were donated to the school system decades ago when the subdivision was built, but only the elementary school was developed until now.

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