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ISL eyes building plans for long term

The International School of Louisiana is making steps toward long-term building plans.

At the board’s meeting Wednesday, members discussed the need to prepare a five-year master plan to house the increasing number of students at its Camp Street campus.

To begin this school year, fourth- and fifth-grade students had to temporarily meet at the 502 Olivier St. campus. They were able to return to the Camp Street campus on Sept. 30 after modular classroom additions were inspected and approved by the Fire Marshal.

The lease discussed at the board’s September meeting was not brought back up,  though Wilson said he will address it when he presents his first draft of a master plan to the board in January. The lease would be for a grass lot across Terpsichore Street from the Camp Street campus, and would function as student play space.

Future strategic planning committee and board meetings will continue to develop policies guiding the new master plan. Board member Andrew Yon said having a long-term guideline on hand would be beneficial because that would enable the school to quickly jump on any opportunities, whether that means renovating the Camp Street building, moving to another building or constructing a new one.

Yon updated the board with news that Recovery School District representatives attended the Coliseum Square Association’s meeting on Monday in order to discuss possible ways to use FEMA renovation funds. One plan was to replace all of the International School of Louisiana’s 300 wooden window frames with aluminum frames, which Yon said drew the ire of the neighborhood association’s members.

Wilson said he had not heard about this plan or any past plans for the windows. Wilson had reported delays in the FEMA projects in previous board meetings, however, and reported Wednesday that the projects had been pushed back from this fall to the spring.

Yon went on to say that the school’s administration needs to ensure it is notified about similar talks in the future, and to request that the Recovery School District disclose what it envisions for the window-replacement project.

The school building is protected by groups such as the Historic District Landmarks Commission and State Historic Preservation Officers, so Yon said he expects the Recovery School District’s plan to meet resistance.

After months of doubt about how the OneApp program would accommodate a unique school like the International School of Louisiana, Wilson said they have reached an agreement for the 2014-2015 school year.

The school’s new application deadline is Dec. 20, up from mid-January, because it has extra application requirements. Parents must attend an open house or tour the school and sign a unique environment form acknowledging that it is a language-immersion school. Parents will then be notified if their child is considered for enrollment after Feb. 28, when they will schedule a language-readiness assessment.

“We are really excited about what this means for (the school), however we are also cautiously optimistic in terms of how it could impact our enrollment in the future,” Wilson said.

The board approved a change to the school’s articles of incorporation so any lawsuits would be served to the school’s attorney, Wilson.

The International School of Louisiana’s next board meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 1400 Camp St.

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