WATSON, LA — Livingston Parish School officials and members of the Watson community recently celebrated the opening of the new Live Oak High School with an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
More than 1,200 students, parents, community members, local leaders and school officials attended the event, which was held on Feb. 4. Live Oak Principal Tracy McRae, School Board Member Kellee Hennessy, Superintendent John Watson, Live Oak High School Student of the Year Gary Gillette, and Live Oak Methodist Church Pastor Mark Crosby led the dedication ceremony, which was followed by a reception and guided tours through the campus.
“We want to thank the many people who have put so much time and effort into making this beautiful campus a reality,” Hennessy said. “We are proud of the investment we have made for our children and for this community as a whole, and we look forward to enjoying the successes that will be developed and nurtured here.”
Hennessy noted that Live Oak High School was completed under the projected $30 million budget, and that it includes more amenities than originally planned.
The 200,000-square-foot campus contains 75 classrooms, including several science, technology and business laboratories, along with a cafeteria, library and culinary kitchen. Most of the classes are held in the school’s main two-story classroom building. Students only leave the main building to access the school cafeteria, band room, auxiliary gym, and career and technical education building.
“Thanks to the savings that we had, we were able to put air conditioning in the main gym, lay concrete floors throughout, add a culinary kitchen for our ProStart program, and upgrade our athletic facilities, including adding a field house, putting artificial turf on the football field, adding a running track, and building a nice concession stand,” Hennessy said.
Principal McRae said approximately 1,185 students are currently enrolled at the school. Those students were allowed to access the school on Dec. 17, giving them time to get acquainted with the campus before the Christmas vacation break and the start of the second semester.
McRae said the opening of the school had been delayed somewhat because of problems caused by copper theft last February and then rainy weather due to Hurricane Isaac in September.
However, project managers worked hard to get the job completed by the end of the year, she said.
In addition to the ceremony and open house, McRae said the school plans to plant a Live Oak tree on the campus this spring in celebration of the school’s opening.