Community Says Farewell to Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High Schools

Community Says Farewell to Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High Schools
Posted on 09/25/2018
This is the image for the news article titled Community Says Farewell to Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High Schools

Community Says Farewell to

Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High Schools

Educators, Students & Leaders Gather Sept. 26 to Remember the Past


DENHAM SPRINGS, La. – Past and present educators, students and community leaders will gather on the campuses of Southside Elementary and Southside Junior High tomorrow (Sept. 26) to say farewell to the beloved campuses that have had such a lasting impact on their lives and the lives of thousands of students in the Denham Springs community.


A “Farewell Ceremony” at Southside Elementary will begin at 12:30 p.m. and include remarks from current and former administrators, including past principals Mike Harris and Janelle Carrier.  Former students will also share favorite memories about the campus.


A “Commemoration of the Past and Celebration of the Future” ceremony at Southside Junior High will begin at 2:30 p.m. and include comments from former principals J. Rogers Pope and Joe Murphy.  Pope is also a former school superintendent and currently serves as a state representative in the Louisiana Legislature.  The ceremony will also include a plaque presentation and demolition of the existing marquee sign.


Both schools will soon be demolished because of substantial damage caused by the August 2016 flood.  The schools have remained shuddered since the flood, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently approved a funding plan for the district to rebuild both schools. 


“We are excited about the future for these schools, and the impact they will continue to have on the children of Livingston Parish,” Superintendent Rick Wentzel said.  “With that said, we know that this is a bittersweet time for so many, and we wanted to give our people who are so passionately connected to these two schools an opportunity to say farewell and to be a part of this new chapter.”


The rebuilding plan includes demolishing all but two buildings on the Southside Elementary campus.  Those buildings to remain include the multi-purpose building and cafeteria building, which includes five classrooms and a large meeting space.  Those facilities, which are valued at $2.1 million, will be restored and converted into education space to house a Denham Springs High School satellite campus that will specialize in career-based classes in digital media and emergent technology.


The district will demolish all buildings at Southside Junior High, except for the band room, which will be restored.  Both the new Southside Junior High and Southside Elementary will be rebuilt on the 27-acre site.  The combined campus will house two distinct schools – Southside Elementary for K-5 students and Southside Junior High for 6-8 students – but they will share some facilities and recreational space to reduce duplication where possible and maximize cost savings.


A third school substantially damaged by the flood – Denham Springs Elementary – will be rebuilt at its original site on Range Avenue.  Demolition of that damaged campus has already begun.


Assistant Superintendent Joe Murphy, the principals of the two schools, and school administrators recently traveled to Galveston, Texas, to visit a combined campus similar to what’s being proposed to gather ideas and best practices.


He said the demolition and rebuilding of all three substantially damaged schools will take three years to complete.

Notice of Discrimination

The Livingston Parish School Board does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, disability or gender in its educational programs and activities (including employment and application for employment), and it is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of gender by Title IX (20 USC 168) and on the basis of disability by Section 504 (42 USC 794). The Title IX Coordinator is Stephen Parrill

Livingston Parish Public Schools is committed to ensuring that all websites and web applications, both public-facing and for internal use, conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (W.C.A.G.) 2.0 Level AA. Any issues should be reported (, Assistant Superintendent, P.O. Box 1130, Livingston, LA 70754; Phone (225) 686-7044. The Special Education Director is Dr. Eric Penalber (; the LPPS 504 Coordinator is Marcia McKnight (, P.O. Box 1130 Livingston, LA 70754; Phone (225)686-4248.

Fight Fraud, Waste and Abuse