Meeting held June 20 to update residents on DHS repair progress

By Jeffra Wise DeViney

Approximately 50 concerned citizens attended a meeting Monday evening, June 20, held at Oak Street Recreation Center to address concerns about the deplorable conditions and lack of construction progress at DeQuincy High School.

School Board member Alvin Dale Smith indicated that he had invited other officials from Calcasieu Parish School Board to attend, but none were in attendance.

Smith indicated that $216 million had been invested in repairs to date and attempted to answer questions about budgets, insurance, FEMA, General and Emergency Funds. He indicated that both the gyms and athletic facility were condemned with 55% damage as per FEMA. They are now on the third contractor for the school building. There are supply issues and the structure had to be assessed by an engineer to make sure it was structurally sound.

Contractor bids will be going out for metal supplies. To date, there has been no money received from FEMA for DeQuincy High School for construction. This has been going on for two years and the building is not ready.

After much discussion, attendees in the room requested Smith put DeQuincy High School on the agenda for the next School Board meeting, to be held on Tuesday, July 12, at 6 p.m. in Lake Charles at 3310 Broad St.

People are frustrated and confused. The coalition of people in attendance agreed to meet again to prepare for the next regularly scheduled School Board meeting to get answers and solutions from all concerned since none of the representatives were in attendance.

The concerned citizens’ next meeting will be held on Thursday, July 7, at 7 p.m. at the Oak Street Rec. Center. The representatives will be invited again and formal statements will be prepared to organize before the next regularly scheduled School Board meeting.

Police Juror Roger Marcantel; City Officals – Mayor Riley Smith, Council members, Denise Maddox and Judy Landry; some teachers, school employees and residents were in attendance.

Please engage, come help to join in aiding the support to bring a coalition of people to be noticed at the next organizational meeting. Without our school, we are crippled in retaining and attracting future economic development. Our children’s futures are at stake. The old adage: “It takes a village” really drives this home. Everyone needs to engage to make a difference. Everyone bring one, tell your neighbors, tell your friends and family.