Welding classes offered at the high school will move to make way for the construction of new facilities. The Red River Parish School Board voted Monday night to bus students and faculty to the Mansfield Vo-Tech school for welding instruction beginning next fall. It is estimated it will take 12 to 18 months to construct new facilities at the High School.
The board heard reports from Maintenance Supervisor David Beard and Finance Director David Jones of what is needed to remodel the former Coushatta Vo-Tech building and get it ready for students. Updates included Air and Heat, electrical, plumbing, telephone and internet, security, and other improvements to bring the building up to code. Jones gave an estimate of about $50,000 to make the building ready for students this fall.
The alternate suggestion was to bus students and faculty to the Mansfield Vo-Tech for welding instruction. Cost estimate was about $16,000 for the 2018-19 school year. Jones said he did not have a definite cost per student. That is to come in negotiations with them. Jones said, “They are doing the welding program for Logansport High and they charge their students $150 per term. The charge could be as high as $380, the amount currently charged other students in the welding program.”
Superintendent Alison Hughes said, “At present we are projecting 17 to 20 students in the welding program next fall. They are juniors and seniors.” Hughes added that the project to construct a new home for welding and other vocational programs on the high school campus will take 18 to 24 months.
When it came time to vote, the board was not unanimous. Member Gene Longino said, “I am not in favor of sending our students 50 miles (a day) out of the parish to teach them. In my view the Vo-Tech (Coushatta) was a welding shop for 20 years and set up for welding. It should be close to what we want.” Longino added, “I think it needs to be further addressed before e do what we are doing tonight.”
Board Member Valerie Cox commented, “I think it could be further explored. Where did we get the cost figures?
When the measure came for a vote, the board voted 5 to 2 to relocate the high school welding program to Mansfield Vo-Tech until new facilities are constructed. Longino and Cox cast the dissenting votes.