“This is a great day for all the citizens of New Orleans East,” said Ira Thomas Sr., OPSB President. We are breaking ground on the highest quality school ever built in this area,” Thomas continued.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided the funding for this $34,075,000 project. The new school will be LEED Silver Certified. The architect is Imre Hegedus. The McDonnel Group is the contractor. This project has 35% DBE participation during the construction phase.
“FEMA is pleased to help the families of New Orleans East receive a first class elementary school that will be an outstanding community asset,” said Thomas “Mike” Womack, Director of FEMA’s Louisiana Recovery Unit. “This is a school that parents, teachers and the community will always be proud of as FEMA continues its commitment to the recovery of the New Orleans area,” Womack continued.
The new Lake Forest Elementary Charter School will be approximately 110,000 square feet. The building will be a 3 section (30 core classrooms) and will serve children Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. The facility will also have three science labs, two special education classrooms, three resource classrooms, a media center a professional development classroom, an art classroom and a large performing arts room that can be divided into separate classrooms for the band and choir.
The site also has a dedicated play area for Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. The building will be fully handicap accessible and will have an elevator.
Lake Forest Elementary Charter School received the 2013 National Blue Ribbon School Award for excellence in education from the U.S. Department of Education. “Lake Forest is one of only two educational institutions in Louisiana that is designated as a National Title I Distinguished School for Exceptional Student Performance,” said Mardele Early, CEO.
“Lake Forest embraces an accelerated educational program that prepares children for future academic success,” said State Senator J.P. Morrell.
“Lake Forest offers a challenging program with a high value on academics, community service, leadership preparation and a strong creative arts component,” said Sabrina Freeman, Lake Forest teacher. “Lake Forest is producing a generation of college-bound graduates who will be critical, creative thinkers, and global productive citizens,” said Stan Smith, OPSB Superintendent.
“Lake Forest has embraced many qualities of academic excellence including professional development for all teachers, small class sizes, extended day instruction, integration of technology, curriculum based instruction with incremental assessments, foreign language, instructional assistance via instructional facilitators, an ESL program, and a 100% passing rate of 4th and 8th grade LEAP test scores,” said State Representative Wesley Bishop, chair of the House Education Committee.
In the area of creative arts, Lake Forest has an active concert band and orchestra, strings program, and the Eagle Pride Art Club.
Extra-curricular activities include Student Council, Concert Band, Dance Classes, New Orleans League of Academic Games, Eclectic Eagles Book Club, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, Eagles with Etiquette Club, Boys and Girls Basketball, Art Club, Cheerleading Squad, Technology Club, and the Lego Robotics Club in partnership with the Jacobs Engineering Company.
“Lake Forest is an outstanding school that attracts a diverse student population,” said Terrence Lockett, Capital Region Manager/Educational Liaison for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu. “We look forward to this new facility and our ability serve the children of New Orleans even better.”
“Lake Forest Elementary was the dream of the late Dr. Everett Williams, former OPSB Superintendent who wanted to provide a school in New Orleans East to give parents more options,” said James Gray, New Orleans City Council, District E.
“The original school was established in 1988, given the name Lake Forest Montessori School and thrived for many years until severely flooded after Hurricane Katrina in 1995,” said State Representative Austin Badon in whose district the new school is located.
“After Hurricane Katrina, several teachers and the principal – themselves left homeless – gathered with determination to reopen the school,” said Leslie Ellison, OPSB Vice President/Board Member, District 4.
“The new school will locate on a site purchased by the Orleans Parish School Board from Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church,” said Sarah Usdin, OPSB Board Member, District 3. “We expect the new Lake Forest to be completed by late July 2015 and ready for occupancy in the fall,” said Nolan Marshall, Jr., OPSB Board Member District 7.
“The Lake Forest parent community could not be more pleased that construction is about to begin,” said Rosalind Woodfox, parent representative. “The entire New Orleans East neighborhood recognizes Lake Forest as an anchor to attract more young families to our area,” said Sylvia Scineaux-Richard, ENONAC President.
“Our board, our parents, our faculty and staff have been waiting many years for this day and are so thrilled it has finally come,” said Donald Pate, Lake Forest board member.