Top Construction Projects 2023: 2. New Orleans Public Schools

Project description: The $2 billion New Orleans School Facilities Master Plan is the largest school recovery project in the nation’s history to refurbish, renovate and/or construct new schools following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Cost: $2 billion
Start date: 2008
Expected completion date: Early 2023
Owner/developer: Louisiana Recovery School District, Orleans Parish School Board
Program manager: Jacobs Engineering/CSRS Program Management
Construction teams: Various

The 15-year effort to rebuild New Orleans Public Schools in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is in its final stages, with a project that promises to prepare students for careers in the tech sector serving as one of the highlights of the program.

Once the project wraps up in February 2023, all 45,000 students in the city’s school system will be educated in a new, renovated or refurbished facility. It marks the end of the $2 billion New Orleans School Facilities Master Plan that began in 2008 – the largest school recovery project in the nation’s history to renovate and/or construct new schools following the 2005 hurricane that devastated the city.

Audience view of McMain High School Auditorium. Photos courtesy NOLA Public Schools

One of the last major construction projects is the $31.3 million Walter L. Cohen College Prep, located at 3520 Dryades St. The project was led by Grace Hebert Curtis (architect) and Lemoine Company (general contractor). At 105,000 square feet and three stories high, the school will include updated academic classrooms and science labs as well as visual, music, and performing arts classrooms. The school’s auditorium will have seating for 250, and the gymnasium will seat 450. Construction is projected for October 2022 completion with a school move-in date of December 2022.

Others include the Rose Mary Loving Elementary School renovation, slated to wrap up this month. The final project, the renovation of Dr. Alice R. Geoffray High School, is projected to be complete by February 2023.

Waggoner & Ball (architects) and Landis Construction (general contractor) are leading the $35.7 million renovations at Rose Mary Loving Elementary School, formerly Martin Behrman on General Meyer Avenue. The renovation of the historic main school building will enhance the classrooms, science labs, library and 604-seat auditorium. The new early learning center will provide four kindergarten and four pre-kindergarten classrooms. The new gymnasium will provide locker rooms, offices, concessions, and storage, as well as almost 400 bleacher seats.

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