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Easton moves a step closer to securing vacant lot next door

Warren Easton has renovated its 50-year-old gym.

Della Hasselle / The Lens

Warren Easton has renovated its 50-year-old gym.

Warren Easton Charter School got one step closer Tuesday to securing its future “field of dreams,” a green space that school officials hope to create out of an empty lot next door to the school.

The Orleans Parish School Board unanimously approved a non-binding agreement to purchase the property adjacent to the Warren Easton building at 3019 Canal St., facilities consultant Ken Ducote told the school’s board of directors during a monthly meeting Wednesday.

“It’s nice to hear good news for a change,” Board President David Garland said in response to the news.

Board members have said in the past that they would like to use the space – which is labeled as “field of dreams” on a photo in the boardroom – as a practice field.

The OPSB is now entering a due-diligence period to have the property appraised for value and surveyed for environmental risks, according to a written report handed out during the meeting.

“That’s an extremely positive thing,” Ducote added.

During the meeting, board members also announced that the school’s gymnasium had been newly renovated.

The school’s financial officer, Mike Greer, told the board in a report that the school had spent $41,996 of a cash fund reserved exclusively for facilities updates on the gym. The renovations so far brought the cash balance of that fund down from $1,710,558 to $1,668,562.

After the meeting, Garland escorted The Lens and some members of the board to the gym to see the updates, which included new floors, a new paint job on the walls and a new heating system.

The mascot on the center of the floor also was spruced up, Garland said. Board members enjoyed walking around the space and seeing the change Wednesday.

According to Garland, the gym was more than 50 years old and in dire need of the repairs before.

“We were really proud of the fact that we were able to put this old lady back together,” Garland told The Lens.

He added that he hoped the repairs would enable students to keep using the gym for another 50 years.

The OPSB  also has approved FEMA reimbursement claims for work completed by the school, members of the charter organization learned Wednesday.

Board members were cautiously optimistic about the news; Ducote said the claims still have to be given a final review by the district’s contract-management company.

Aside from Garland, board members Bobby Delle, Brenda Christiansen, David Benelli, John Broussard, Charlie Petrey and Billy Hatchet were present. Ex officio board members Arthur Hardy, Sal Genovese and David Napoleon also were present. The meeting lasted from just after 6 until about 7:30 p.m.

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