What Is The Oldest Public High School In Lafayette Parish?
With all the excitement surrounding the brand new Southside High School, we decided to see exactly how all the other major Lafayette Parish public high schools compared in age.
It’s no secret that many of the schools in Lafayette Parish are in dire need of renovations, but the first question that pops up is “Who needs it the most?” Every public high school in Lafayette Parish is hovering around the 50-year mark or older.
Carencro High School is technically the “newest” public high school (built in 1969) while Lafayette High is the eldest of the bunch (built in 1952) turning 65 this year.
A couple years ago when a new Lafayette Parish high school was approved, school board member Justin Centanni did the legwork to see just how old the current schools in the district were, as well as the years of their major additions/renovations and the amount of students currently enrolled.
You can see the entire list of schools here via The Advertiser, but in terms of the major public high schools in Lafayette Parish, here’s how they all rank in age.
Lafayette High School (1952)
Lafayette High School has been around the longest and is naturally one of the schools could probably use a facelift the most. According to The Advertiser Lafayette High saw additions around every five years from 1955 to 1974, and in 2015 was working on $1.1 in renovations that included bathrooms, and additional storage for band and chorus. As of 2014, Lafayette High School had over 2400 students enrolled.
Northside High School (1960)
Another school that is getting up there in age is Northside High School. Northside opened up in 1960 with additions made every few years after up until 1967. They got another addition in 1981, but the school hasn’t seen any major renovations since then. As of 2014, Northside High School had a little over 700 students enrolled.
Comeaux High School (1965)
As a graduate of Comeaux High School in 1999, this is the school that I have the most personal connection to. Even though it’s been a while, I don’t remember the school feeling “old” even though the last major addition to the school happened 10 years after it first opened in 1965. I do remember getting a really cool addition to the Boy’s gym in the late 90s that made for a great weight room and activity space, but I’m not sure if Comeaux High has seen much in terms of renovation since then. Back in 2014, they had nearly 2,000 students enrolled.
Another interesting fact is that according to the first yearbook at Comeaux High the school was built on a bond of “one and one-quarter million dollars.”
Acadiana High School (1968)
Only a year older than the “youngest” of the major Lafayette Parish public high schools, Acadiana High School has over 1,700 students enrolled as of 2014. Unlike many of the other schools, Acadiana High has not seen any major additions since the school opened in 1968.
Carencro High School (1969)
Coming in as the youngest of the crop, Carencro High School is still dated in terms of infrastructure being that it hasn’t been touched up in nearly 45 years. As a friend who graduated from Carencro told me earlier this week, it still has that “old school smell.” With only a little over 1,000 students currently enrolled, Carencro could easily see more bodies in the coming years with the recent development in the area.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are older middle schools and elementary schools in Lafayette Parish, but with the opening of the new $87 million Southside High School many of the conversations on social media surround other high schools in the Parish that need renovations and major additions.
While all the other high schools that are mentioned could definitely use a facelift or even be completely rebuilt in a similar style of Southside High School, it’s easier said than done—and in more ways than one.
First of all, none of the schools could be completely torn down and rebuilt in the two months of downtime over the summer without some insane logistic planning, not to mention the money it would cost. Keep in mind, we voted “NO” to a half cent tax that was set to help improve our local classrooms.
Another difficult decision would be choosing which school “deserved” the major upgrade considering they were all literally built around the same time during the 1950s and 60s.
While some feel that Southside High School seems a bit “excessive” it should also be noted that it’s very similar to the new schools being built around the country.
The last new school to be built in Lafayette Parish was Ernest J. Gallet in 2002, and even though that was 15 years ago it is still noticeably different than the schools built 50 years ago.
Which Lafayette Parish public school do you think needs the most TLC?