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Rebuilding Hynes

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It makes sense that SOSNOLA’s very first blog would be about Hynes Elementary School.HynesFleurdeLis

After all, executive director Angela Daliet is a Hynes parent. And the need to get Hynes re-opened after Hurricane Katrina so families could return knowing their children had a school to attend, laid the foundation for Save Our Schools NOLA.

She organized the community and pushed the district to get the school up and running in a temporary location for the 2006-07 school year after learning Hynes would potentially remained shuttered beyond 2010.  Her work on this project highlights SOSNOLA’s core value that in order to ensure equal access to better schools, citizens must be informed, organized and allowed to participate in decisions that affect their school and community

Now four years later, despite promises from the city and plans laid out in the School Facilities Master Plan that listed Hynes as a “quick start school”, the original campus remains a bleak, empty swath of land.

At an Orleans Parish School Board Property Meeting held yesterday at the school’s second temporary location on Gentilly Blvd (at the old St. James Major School), a formidable crowd gathered to hear a report from project design manager Jules Legarde (of CSRS/Jacobs Firm) on the status of rebuilding; and have their concerns addressed and questions answered. Teachers, school officials, students, parents and community members filled the gymnasium anticipating another revision to the projected completion date, now July 2011.

Which still seems a long way off.

One young 6th grade student asked if her 8th-grade graduation will be held at the new school. No one could answer for certain.

Angela’s efforts to reopen Hynes began in September 2005 when her youngest son was entering pre-kindergarten … he’ll be a 5th grader by fall 2011. Her oldest son will have long graduated, and her middle son won’t be far behind.

A Lakeview resident who had attended Hynes back in 1956 called the school the “nucleus” of the neighborhood and vital to drawing young professionals back to the area.

Principal Michelle Douglas spoke highly of the school and the city’s efforts, thanking the board for bring the Property Meeting to the school; then ended her remarks with a stern request for an immediate lease extension on the current building.

Watch a video on WWLTV.com of reporter Susan Edwards’ coverage of the event.

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Written by SOSNOLA

August 15, 2009 at 5:53 PM