As it stands, the property at 601 Kingston Road in Benton is an undeveloped field. By the fall of 2015, however, it will be home to the newest elementary school in Bossier Parish.
The 43.5-acre property was purchased by the Bossier school board late last month for the purpose of constructing a 1,000 student elementary school to relieve growth stress at Legacy and Benton elementary schools.
Keith Norwood, director of planning for Bossier Parish Schools, said there are several advantages to the site, including the option for a long driveway to address traffic in and out of the school.
“The school will sit far enough back from the road that it shouldn't create a heavy strain on the traffic flow,” Norwood said.
The property, located east of Kingston Plantation and north of St. Charles Court between Benton Road and Airline Drive, is one of three the school board looked at as a potential school site. Norwood said the selected site is larger than what is needed for the school, but the extra space may come in handy if the enrollment numbers grow.
This will be the first elementary school in Bossier Parish specifically built to accommodate 1,000 students. Norwood said the school may not reach full capacity like Legacy Elementary did after its opening, but the possibility is there.
“It all depends on how fast the subdivisions fill up,” Norwood said. “Some have already filled, others are close and there's still room to build more houses.”
The district lines for the Kingston Road school site will pull students from Legacy Elementary, located less than three miles from the new school, and Benton Elementary. Norwood said preliminary figures show Benton's enrollment could decline by 100 students and Legacy could see a 400 student decline, reducing their enrollment total by half.
While those figures are only preliminary, Norwood said the school will definitely serve its purpose as a relief site to currently overcrowded schools.
The Kingston Road land purchase is another step in a long process to fulfill the $210 million bond that was approved by voters in April 2012, which will for planned construction and renovation projects.
Phase one includes a new state of the art technical school; a new 1,000 student elementary school along the Kingston Road corridor; a new 1,500 student middle school on the school board’s Tuscany property in Haughton; and renovations to Bossier High, Airline High, and Carrie Martin Elementary.
Sonja Bailes, public relations liaison for Bossier Schools, said they are currently assembling a School Naming Committee to officially name the new elementary school, technical and middle school. For more information on the construction plans, visit www.bossierschools.org/planning