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St. James board envisions magnet program, academy

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LUTCHER, La. (AP) — The St. James Parish School Board is considering creation of a new high school magnet program and a new science and math academy as a result of recommendations from a long-range master plan.

Superintendent Alonzo Luce told the board this week the proposed site for the parish's new St. James High School campus in north Vacherie has been recommended to either serve as the district's new science and math academy or house a visual and performing arts magnet program.

The long-range master plan, created by Vanir Construction Management Inc., also recommended evaluating Lutcher High School as a possible site for the visual and performing arts magnet program, Luce said.

He says both magnet programs would serve seventh- through 12th-grade students.

The St. James Parish Science and Math Academy in Vacherie serves the same grades and "would no longer be needed" if the new academy was created, Luce said.

The creation of a high school-level visual and performing arts magnet program was spurred by a "phenomenal" response to the district's new visual and performing arts magnet program at Gramercy Elementary School, Luce said.

"The board is very interested in expanding because it's been so successful at the elementary level," Luce said.

These are recommendations the school board could choose to act on during the next five to 10 years, said William L. Lacher, Vanir vice president and regional manager.

The school board hired Vanir Construction to create a long-range plan using current and future demographics and enrollment figures, population numbers and parish trends to help school officials deliver the best educational services to the district, Lacher said.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/YSkM1Q) the school board paid nearly $134,000 for the master plan.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

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