New buildings for J.I. Barron - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

New buildings for J.I. Barron

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5) If you've driven pass J.I. Barron Elementary School lately, you've likely noticed a lot of construction. News Channel Five's Lydia Magallanes stopped by the school Tuesday to check out what that construction is all about.

It's a project that took 20 months to complete, but the wait is finally over. A gym, cafeteria and 27 classrooms have been added for grades four through six.

"The process started with them tearing out our front driveway, we had to totally revamp our car router line, then it moved to them actually starting the building," said Assistant Principal Jennifer Malone. "We had 19 portables in the back so we really needed the extra space."

"Kids and parents and teachers have really put up with a lot, but they are a dedicated community over here, passed a bond so that we could build our school," said Principal Richard Dewees. "We've been over populated at J.I. Barron in the classrooms for about 12 or 14 years, so this is an answer to a prayer so to speak."

Due to construction over the summer, teachers had less time for preparation, but teacher Kim Lord said that's not slowing them down.

"They've been working up here around the clock from early in the morning to late late at night getting their classrooms unpacked," Lord said. "They wanna make sure that they have done everything they can to make sure our students are going to achieve the best that they can." 

"I can't even begin to express how impressed I am and how proud I am of our staff here," Lord said.

And J.I. Barron is impressed with community involvement in the project.

"We've had parents come off the streets," Lord said. "People have come up and said, 'Is there anything I can do to help y'all get opened up for this weekend?' It's been great."

J.I. Barron will have a ribbon cutting to show off the finished building this Saturday from 9 a.m. to Noon. 

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