Home News Education Webster Parish School Board discusses “The Pit’s” future

Webster Parish School Board discusses “The Pit’s” future

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Jeffrey Jacobs, a District 6 Committee member, asks a question during the committee meeting Wednesday regarding regulations set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Michelle Bates/Press-Herald

The District 6 Committee of the Webster Parish School Board learned more about what the Federal Emergency Management Agency will cover and what it will not.

During a committee meeting Wednesday, the committee was given the opportunity to ask questions of Maintenance Supervisor Buster Flowers and Jenny Reynolds, director of the Webster Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The two took them through the different categories in which FEMA classifies projects such as damage to The Pit at Minden High School following the March 8 flood.

Webster Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Jenny Reynolds explains to District 6 Committee members the steps and the process by which the Webster Parish School Board will comply with regulations to receive funding to rebuild the grandstands at Minden High School's The Pit. Michelle Bates/Press-Herald
Webster Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Jenny Reynolds explains to District 6 Committee members the steps and the process by which the Webster Parish School Board will comply with regulations to receive funding to rebuild the grandstands at Minden High School’s The Pit. Michelle Bates/Press-Herald

Flowers backtracked somewhat when he said in earlier meetings as long as The Pit stayed in Category G, which is the community revitalization category, the money would be paid up front. Rather, the money will be paid progressively. In other words, the money will be available as the project goes along, he said.

“The money that we get from FEMA will not be a check up front,” he said. “What they do, when the project worksheet is approved by FEMA, that money will be deposited and it will be a progressive payout. Such as when the stands come down, the amount they approve will be deposited. It’s progressive.”

Category B deals with any temporary measures that take place during the project. While it will not include security, as previously thought, Flowers said it will cover the cost of the temporary bleachers, any portable restrooms, concession stands and the relocation of the press box.

The stands will also have to be fenced off, he said.

An issue that arose dealt with whether the full board voted to rebuild the stadium in its current location. While the consensus among the committee was that it would be so, it was never formally voted on by the board.

MHS Principal Robin Tucker says there was a lot of confusion in Monday’s board meeting due the number of topics surrounding the school and because there were so many unknowns at the time.

“I think we’re all in agreement that we want to do what’s right,” she said. “We all want to be on the same page. We want to do what we need to do as quickly as possible because we’re not in a situation where we can sit and wait. And at the end of the day, we want to be financially responsible with the taxpayer’s money and being good stewards of the money we may be given from FEMA.”

Following a show of hands, the committee unanimously said they wanted the stands rebuilt in its current location.

One of the issues as well is the drainage under the grandstands. The drainage that flows under the grandstands ultimately goes into Mile Creek, but if Mile Creek backs up, it overtaxes the drainage system, backing it up back onto the field or flooding the grandstands.

Minden High Head Football Coach Spencer Heard said during a previous committee meeting the drainage needs to be addressed to prevent flooding the field and the grandstands again.
Reynolds suggested entering into a cooperative endeavor agreement at some point with the City of Minden to conduct a watershed study on the drainage issue.

A special meeting has been called for 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 14 to vote on what to do with the grandstands at The Pit. The meeting will be at Central Office at 1442 Sheppard Street.

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