School Board greenlights sports facilities

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

The Iberville Parish School Board on Monday approved plans for a $2 million fieldhouse at Plaquemine High School, and accepted a $281,000 bid on repairing storm damages to a White Castle High School Gym wall.

“Who's to say what's going to start first,” said Board Member Darlene Ourso of White Castle, who has been pushing for the repair of damages caused by Hurricane Gustav a year ago September 1. “It should have been done six months ago.”

Ourso also pushed successfully for the addition of women's facilities to the PHS field house, which is intended primarily for football players and coaches.

“They threw the girl's area together, but had lots of input from male coaches,” said Ourso, herself a coach. “They did not speak to one female coach from Plaquemine High School.”

The board delayed approval of the Plaquemine High project last month to allow plans to be redrawn to include an equipment room and a bathroom for the women's coaches.

Ourso said the new plans carved an area from the girls' shower room for a coaches bathroom that does not include shower facilities “like on the boys' side.” Ourso said it would be “definitely inappropriate” for the women coaches to use the same showers as the athletes.

“They don't have the men taking showers with the guys,” she said. “I'm totally frustrated with the whole thing.”

The board accepted the low bid of MBD Maintenance on the White Castle gym repair.

White Castle will get little in the way of new facilities, Ourso said – the addition of lockers to replace wooden cubbyholes built by school coaches and a new press box.

“The floor shakes when you walk. The floor is rotting,” she said. “It's definitely a safety problem.”

The PHS field house is one of the facilities to be built with the proceeds of a 31-mill property tax voters approved last year for school personnel raises and construction.

In other action, the School Board approved the property tax millages for this 2009, the same as last year's. In addition to the 31-mill tax, the board levied 3.49 mills in constitutional tax, 6.22 for parish wide maintenance, 4.84 for a special maintenance fund, 9.33 for salaries and benefits and 1.78 for the alternative school.