Progress on Construction of Two Baton Rouge Elementary Schools and New Arts Conservatory | Education
Starting in November, Broadmoor Middle School in Baton Rouge is set to begin its transformation into an artistic collegea project that begins with the removal of asbestos from the 61-year-old structure.
Plans to demolish and rebuild Brownfields Elementary as well as build a new elementary school on 47 acres the school system is trying to buy along Perkins Road, just east of Siegen Lane between Perkins and Ward Creek, are also progressing.
Work on Broadmoor Middle and the reconstruction of Brownfields Elementary is expected to be completed by summer 2024, in time for the start of the 2024-25 school year.
The completion date for the new elementary school in southeast Baton Rouge depends on how quickly school officials can finalize the purchase of the 47 acres. BREC, which has two adjacent parks in the region, works with the school district to create an original “school in the park” on this property which would integrate the school within a park. The school would accommodate up to 1,500 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Broadmoor Middle’s new arts conservatory – dubbed ‘the Juilliard of Baton Rouge’ – would serve as a place where teenagers could cultivate their skills for possible careers in music, film, dance, theater and the visual arts. The school board approved the creation of the new arts conservatory, serving students in grades 6 to 12, last November.
All three projects are being funded through the Tax Plan, a series of school construction projects that voters in East Baton Rouge Parish approved in April 2018. The projects are being paid for through a 1-cent sales tax intended to education that was renewed in this election. The current budget includes $15 million for Broadmoor Middle, $25.1 million for Brownfields Elementary and $25 million for the new primary in southeast Baton Rouge.
All three projects use a process new to the East Baton Rouge Parish school system called CMAR, short for Management of construction at risk.
Rather than submitting traditional bids, interested construction companies will submit “statements of qualifications” explaining why they should handle the work. And rather than working from a finished design, the selected firm will participate in the second half of the design process with the architects long before construction begins.
Broadmoor Middle later this month will seek qualifications from interested companies, while the new Southeast Baton Rouge Elementary School awaits purchase of the land before continuing its CMAR process.
Thursday, the parish school board pre-approved to do the same for the reconstruction of Brownfields Elementary as good as the hiring of Domain Architecture as the architect of the project.
A final vote on the CMAR process and the hiring of an architect for Brownfields is scheduled for September 15. Brownfields Elementary students and staff have temporarily moved from the campus at 11615 Ellen Drive. The school’s 230 students share space with White Hills Elementary, located at 5300 Bentley Drive and home to approximately 100 students.
Once selected, the companies chosen through the CMAR process will work with the architects for the final design stages as well as the development of construction documents. The construction company will also prepare a “guaranteed maximum price” that the school system can adopt or reject.
The first step for Broadmoor Middle is to remove asbestos from the 86,455 square foot facility beginning in November and ending in February. Table gave its preliminary agreement on Thursday to the asbestos removal with a final vote also scheduled for September 15.
The Conservatory of Arts School has received significant support from Baton Rouge arts groups as well as several art educators in the parish.
Plans drawn up last year for the new arts school called for it to serve students in grades six through 12 with around 455 to 490 students. As well as the day school, the refurbished Broadmoor Middle would house summer camps and after-school arts classes available to students from across the district.
It is not known when the new conservatory school will open. The original proposal was to open the school for middle grades in the fall of 2023 — high school students would start coming a year later — but that timeline was set when school officials thought they could. complete renovations to Broadmoor Middle by summer 2023. The schedule has since been pushed back a year to summer 2024.