Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Brock Project

I stumbled across this website this morning.

Initiated by the Mayor of New Hyde Park, NY and the Principal of The Road School in the same town, the fine folks there are hoping to raise one million dollars to assist in the rebuilding of Brock Elementary School in Slidell, Louisiana.

Wow. How many other projects are under way for this whole area that - unless we search day and night on different news venues - we don't know about.

As the first public school in Slidell, Brock Elementary School was the oldest school in the parish still in use as a school when Hurricane Katrina devastated it.
It's scheduled to reopen in August 2008. A construction contract has been awarded and repairs to the facility have already begun. The school serves 300 students in grades K-5. Students are currently being educated in temporary facilities.

Damages to the school were significant enough to warrant a replacement facility. However, due to the school's historical significance and eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Tammany education officials decided instead to repair the school, which first opened in 1942.

Because South Slidell suffered the greatest devastation from Katrina, many of the same families who attended the school and have children who attended the school lost their homes and belongings as well. With the School System announcement that Brock Elementary School would be restored, a groundswell of gratitude, joy, and hope from the community has surfaced.

To date, FEMA has obligated over $8.3 million toward Brock Elementary School, which includes emergency protective measures and permanent repairs.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Dan Petruccio, Mayor of New Hyde Park
and Peggy Marenghi, Principal of The Road School as well as all of the wonderful giving, caring people throughout the world who still continue to give to help this area recover from the storm.


More from the Times Picayune

With construction under way, school and FEMA officials say flood-damaged Brock Elementary School is on track to reopen for the 2008-09 school year.

"The project is going well," said Gayle Sloan, superintendent for St. Tammany Parish schools. "We're still very hopeful that it will be ready to return students to in the fall."

Brock has not reopened at its campus on Brakefield Street in Slidell since the school building was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina. Its 300 students in kindergarten through fifth-grade are attending classes in modular buildings at St. Tammany Junior High School in Slidell's Olde Towne district.

The damage sustained after the storm was significant enough to warrant building a new facility, school officials said, but they chose instead to renovate the school.

Brock, which opened as a grammar school in 1942, was granted historic status by the National Register of Historic Places last year. Because of that listing, officials handling the restoration must follow a strict set of federal guidelines.

"Brock is an important community institution, and local residents are eager to see the reconstruction of this school, which has served several generations," Deputy Superintendent Trey Folse said.

"The school is not only an important landmark but also a positive, effective center of learning. The rebuilding of Brock will be an inspiring example for a revitalized community hard hit by disaster."

FEMA has obligated more than $8.3 million for construction at Brock, which includes emergency protection and repairs.

Independence contractor Frank A. Anzalone was hired in June to do the repairs, which will cost a little more than $8.5 million, Folse said.

Renovation plans include replacing the wooden gymnasium floor with a synthetic floor, replacing the building's wooden doors with water-resistant fiberglass ones and using stainless-steel hardware for the doors, he said.

The site has undergone many changes since the community's first high school occupied the space and graduated its first class in 1909. In 1911, a three-story brick building was constructed at the site, according to the Brock Elementary School Web site.

That building housed the first through 11th grades until 1925, when a new high school was built on Third Street. During this time, a teacher and librarian at the grammar school began the first elementary school library in the state, according to the school's Web site.

Undergoing extensive repairs in 1939 and then destroyed by a fire in 1951, the school was renamed in 1972 in honor of Glynn H. Brock, who served as principal from 1932 to 1951.

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