Kenner Discovery building new athletic, performing arts center with loan from Jefferson Parish Schools

The Jefferson Parish School Board is loaning the nonprofit that oversees Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy $5.2 million to build a new “1,000 seat multipurpose facility.”

The “Discovery Arts and Athletics Performance Center” will be located at the charter school’s campus off Vintage and Loyola drives in Kenner and will include a gymnasium, stage and locker rooms, according to Patty Glaser, CEO of Discovery Schools.

 Instead of having to travel to other campuses, Kenner Discovery’s 1,400 middle and high school students will be able to stay put for basketball practices, theater productions, band performances and more thanks to the new facility.

The project will break ground in April and the facility should be ready by May 2024, Glaser said. It’s expected to cost around $12.3 million to build, according to a cooperative endeavor agreement the School Board adopted Wednesday night.

On top of the $5.2 million loan, the nonprofit is funding the project with $3.7 million in federal pandemic aid, $450,000 from the Louisiana state capitol budget and $800,000 in private donations, according to the agreement.

The Discovery Health Sciences Foundation, which operates four charter schools in Jefferson Parish educating 2,900 students, will repay the loan with interest over the next 20 years.

Kenner Discovery's Lower School, which has 1,000 students grade K-4, will also use the facility for ceremonies and other events, Glaser said. The building was designed by Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects and will be constructed by Landis Construction.

When not in use by Kenner Discovery, the facility will available to Jefferson Parish's traditional public schools, according to the agreement.


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