After remaining boarded up and vacant for four years, the 60-year-old Canal Street Elementary School facility is being prepared to be razed.
Employees with the Iberia Parish School Board’s Maintenance Department Monday were dragging worn classroom furniture out from the derelict school corridors to get ready for asbestos removal starting today.
The School Board approved spending $77,000 last week for asbestos abatement at the school along with the vacant Building 26 located near the Acadiana Regional Airport.
Removing the hazardous material is required before the building can be demolished, maintenance supervisor Harry Lopez said.
The Jeanerette parcel will join an expanded list of School Board-owned surplus properties, some of which the School Board hopes to sell off.
Last week the board declared Live Oak Pre-school and Johnston Street Elementary surplus and authorized Iberia Parish Superintendent of Schools Dale Henderson to begin the process to advertise the properties for sale.
The schools were closed last year with the consolidation into the recently built Johns Hopkins Elementary School.
“The properties are being appraised right now,” Henderson said Monday.
He said the board has received some inquiries from nonprofit groups interested in using the facilities, but the lots must still be advertised.
Three other surplus properties, the Peebles Elementary tract, Lee Street Elementary and school board administrative offices have been on the market for a year with some inquiries but no substantial offers, Henderson said.
“The board is still very much interested in disposing of those properties,” he said.
According to state law, school district may sell property for less than 75 percent the appraised value if the property has been advertised three times with no potential buyers.
“It still has be reasonable value,” Iberia Parish School District attorney Wayne Landry noted. “There have been several offers on the Peebles property but not enough to take to the board.”
The School Board has advised the administration to not present any offers less than the 75 percent of appraised value, Landry said. Some offers for the Peebles Elementary property, which was appraised at $90,000, he said for example, have come in as low as $5,000, he said.
In May, the School Board successfully disposed of the vacant Grand Marais Elementary School property by turning it over to Iberia Parish Government through an intergovernmental agreement.
It may be some time before the Canal Street plot is available for sale, Landry said.
It was declared surplus by the board years ago, he said, but was never advertised because there are some discrepancies on who owns approximately 100 feet of the left corner of the plot.
There’s a chance it could have been sold to another buyer and a deal was made that allowed the school district to expand its tract all the way to Martin Luther King Drive, Landry said. Because the transaction is so dated it will take some research to determine what sort of arrangement had been made decades ago.
“It won’t affect the demolition of the school. The School Board owns that land,” he said. “But before trying to sell the property we have to clean up the title first.”
"It won’t affect the demolition of the school. The School Board owns that land. But before trying to sell the property we have to clean up the title first."