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Contractor error forces Lafayette Academy to temporarily shut down

Published: Jul. 18, 2018 at 2:22 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2018 at 4:49 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Lafayette Academy has been temporarily shut down due to a contractor error, according to a statement released on their website.

Executive Director Mickey Landry said in the letter that the facility had been undergoing renovations with the supervision of the Louisiana Department of Education's Recovery School District.

According to the letter, this summer a contractor was hired by RSD to replace flooring and abate old asbestos on the floors.

RSD informed the school last week that the contractor failed to follow the appropriate steps to remove the asbestos, and that much of the building and its contents could be contaminated.

According to the letter, none of the work endangered children or staff, but the building is temporarily unuseable until the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality conducts testing to approve its reuse.

In a letter to Choice Foundation, Landry confirms that the school year will not be delayed, and that students and staff will be relocated to a temporary facility.

Landry said in the letter that the school will keep parents and staff up to date with new arrangements on the school's website.

The Orleans Parish School Board released the following statement Wednesday evening:

"The safety and health of all students, parents, teachers, staff and visitors on our school campuses is a top priority for the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB).

Lafayette Academy came under the jurisdiction of the OPSB on July 1 of this year. The Recovery School District (RSD) was the entity overseeing Lafayette and its maintenance/renovation prior to July 1 and will remain the entity overseeing the project until completion. The RSD and Choice Foundation brought the issue of asbestos exposure to the OPSB's attention in late June. We are grateful that no children or staff were exposed to asbestos during the renovations that began after school let out for summer break.

Since then, the district has been working with the non-profit charter management organization, school leader and the RSD to determine placement for Lafayette's students until abatement can be completed and testing of the site concluded. As a group, it was determined that it was best to relocate Lafayette to the old McDonogh 35 building on Kerlerec Street and split the enrollment between that building and the Paul Dunbar building, which Choice already occupies. As the charter operator, Choice Foundation will be making determinations on where each age group will be enrolled. The OPSB is currently working to ensure that the old McDonogh 35 building is prepared to serve students this fall."

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