The West Baton Rouge School Board acknowledged major improvements to Grandeury Field, the football field located behind Port Allen Middle School, after a cooperative endeavor with WBR Parish helped upgrade the facility.
During the regular meeting of the WBR School Board Wednesday, March 19, WBR School Superintendent David Corona said that Norel J. Grandeury Field has received major upgrades since its reconstruction over the past couple of years.
“Because of the collaboration of the different branches of government in West Baton Rouge Parish, projects like the Grandeury Field improvement have happened and have benefitted the people who pay taxes,” Corona said.
Jeff “Petit” Kershaw, Supervisor of Maintenance, said that he is extremely proud of the entire facility has turned out, adding that he believes the field is the best football playing surface in the parish.
“What we were trying to accomplish was to have something nice. I wanted to give the kids at Port Allen Middle School something they could be proud of and the people of Port Allen something they could be proud of,” Kershaw said. “It really turned out better than we thought… It’s just a good place. We made it welcoming as best we could.”
Kershaw thanked the board for allowing him the flexibility to take on the project and mold it into what it has become.
“I appreciate you all’s support, and for giving me some leeway to do this stuff. It’s what I’m here for – I’m trying to make things better,” he said, adding that the park is not just intended for the school students.
The cooperative endeavor between the school board and the parish has made the field available, as a parish park, for parish recreational leagues and more.
“The public can come out and play around. What we wanted it to be is kind of a parish park that people can use,” Kershaw said. “Unless we have problems with doing that or problems at the school… we want it to be a part of the community.”
Jason Manola, School Board President, as well as Executive Assistant to the Parish President, said during the school board meeting that the field has already gotten plenty of use, and he’s excited to see the facility being used.
“The middle school probably has about 40 kids participating in middle school football at the facility, but also the West Baton Rouge Parish recreation department has the recreational league football teams,” he said. “Not to mention Holy Family will also be using the facility, so the number goes up to about 150 kids or so that will benefit by using this facility.”
In other business, the board decided to add a Network Support Technician to their technology department.
“We’re adding a position to our technology department. They have a grand total of three people, now they’re going to have four, to manage (the computers and) the network,” Corona said Monday afternoon during a telephone interview. “So we’re strategically adding people when needed so that we can provide good service to the schools in regard to technology.”
The board also approved the hiring of an added assistant principal at Brusly Elementary School due to the growth of the school.
“With the new wing, 16 new classrooms are coming on line at Brusly Elementary (next school year) and they are our largest school, so we added another assistant principal there,” Corona said.
Both the added positions, the technician and the assistant principal, were opposed by school board member Mike Maranto during the school board meeting as he questioned whether the hires were being made at the right time, as Corona will be retiring at the end of the school year.
After a role call vote, both agenda items were passed with Maranto as the only opposition.
Also, during the meeting, Manola gave a brief update of Superintendent search, as Corona will retire at school year’s end.
He mentioned that as of Wednesday, the board had 17 candidates for the position of WBR Superintendent, and more may be coming in.
“April 15 is the deadline for candidates to submit their resumés,” Manola said.
Manola said that of the 17 candidates, so far, eight are from Louisiana, five more are from elsewhere in the deep South.
He said that the search committee would begin setting up dates and times for candidate interviews during their next committee meeting.
“We’re very pleased with the way the search process has been going,” Manola said.