School board approves construction of wing at Benton Middle School

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The Bossier Parish School Board unanimously approved four school facility upgrades, including a new wing at Benton Middle School, at Thursday’s Bossier Parish School Board meeting. 

Board members heard recommendations from Eric Newman, the Buildings & Grounds/Planning & Development (B&G/P&D) Committee chairperson. 

Upgrades include a new wing at Benton Middle School, a secure entrance at Benton Middle School, and replacing bleachers at Bossier High School.

The board approved the recommendation to restructure the 2012 Construction Program to reflect a classroom wing addition at Benton Middle School.

Program Manager SBG-Yates made the recommendation. The change is subject to U.S. Department of Justice review and demographic study, as well as a 60-day review and comment period. The board will contract with Kevin Bryan Architect for professional services for design, and it will be funded by the 2012 Bond Construction Fund.

Bossier Schools Public Relations Liaison Sonja Bailes said the needs at Benton Middle School have changed due to the Consent Order Bossier Schools is under. The district recently agreed to a reconfiguration that will consist of two grade centers at Benton Middle — a fifth/sixth grade center and a seventh/eighth. Bailes said the move was approved by the federal court and will be implemented at the start of the 2020-21 school year. 

“This new plan would replace T-buildings with a permanent wing. The new configuration also negated the need for a secure connector between the two facilities as well as a perimeter road, because traffic load will change with the configuration,” Bailes said via email.

The adjustments for a new permanent wing will not cost additional monies from the construction fund. The money previously allocated for the secure connector and perimeter road will, instead, be used for the new wing. 

Below are other B&G/P&D recommendations approved by the Bossier Parish School Board:

  • Making improvements for a secure entrance at the south entrance of Benton Middle School. It has an estimated construction cost of $21,000 and will be funded by the 2012 Bond Fund. 
  • Replacing the main gym bleachers at Bossier High School at an estimated construction cost of $150,000 and will be funded by the 2012 Bond Construction Fund.
  • Constructing a sidewalk canopy for the south entrance at Plain Dealing High School at an estimated construction cost of $27,000 that will be funded by the 2012 Bond Fund. 

The B&G/P&D committee meeting was held on Oct. 15 and all items were passed by the committee.