New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy Commandant Col. Bill Davis leads school board members on a tour of its new building.
New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy Commandant Col. Bill Davis leads school board members on a tour of its new building. Credit: Joshua Johnston / The Lens

The New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy board of directors began its meeting Thursday with a tour of a new building on its Federal City campus, led by school Commandant Col. Bill Davis.

Davis showed members the computer lab, science lab, cafeteria and the library, with books still being sorted. He praised the number of students who showed up to help organize the materials over holiday break.

The facility, at 425 O’Bannon St. in Algiers, includes new and renovated buildings in the Federal City development.

Davis said the school would hold a ceremony Feb. 3 or 4 commemorating its opening.

Ben Hicks, from the accounting firm Silva, Gurtner & Abney, recapped how the new school was funded.

“I’ve dealt with a number of very complex financial structures,” Hicks said. “This is the most complex I’ve ever seen.”

The military school, through its related for-profit company, NOMMA Real Estate, sold $11 million in construction bonds. The New Orleans Federal Alliance, created to oversee the Federal City development, contributed $3.6 million.

These funds were then combined with federal New Markets and historic tax credits to become $17 million used to construct the school.

Approximately $14 million of that was used for construction. The other $3 million went to closing fees and an up-front payment of the school’s 71-year land lease.

The New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy moved into its new building over the holidays. Credit: Joshua Johnston / The Lens

Board president and retired Marine Col. Terry Ebbert asked Hicks if he could provide a budget that separated the school’s operations budget from building construction and related investment-related items. Hicks said he should be able to do that by the next board meeting.

Principal Cecilia Garcia informed the board of a recent meeting with the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. She explained that, for the purposes of athletics, the military academy would be considered an Orleans Parish school.

Freshmen coming to the school from other parishes will be allowed to play junior varsity sports, but students in higher grades will have to sit out a year. Garcia said this was a potential issue for military families who relocate to the area.

Present were board members Ebbert, Air Force Reserve Maj. Blake LeMaire, Carol McCall, retired Navy Capt. Marcellus Grace, retired Marine Lt. Gen. Jack Bergman, retired Navy Capt. Dave Whiddon, James Reiss and Courtney Bagneris. Eades Hogue and retired Army Maj. Gen. Walter Paulson were absent.