BALDWIN – Water trouble in the town of Baldwin has caused Raintree Elementary School to get another water provider in an effort to keep students safe and to avoid any loss of instruction time.
Back in May, St. Mary Parish School Board approved $150,000 which was used to address the waterline issue on campus. Then on June 14th, a vote was taken and total costs to conduct engineeer mapping and installation of a new water line was $130,000. This water line would connect to Water District No.6 in Charenton instead of Baldwin.
Currently, Engineers are working to complete that project.
The Assistant Superintendent of St. Mary Parish Schools Dr. Teresa Bagwell said the change was wanted by both the Parish and Raintree Elementary Principal Donald Sanders III. Bagwell also said the allocation was a need as the school was forced to close at times due to interruptions of the Baldwins water service. A total number of 12 school days were missed as a result of early release or full day closures during the last school year. Sanders said anywhere from eight to 10 of those were caused by water issues. There was a cold snap last year that caused school closure as well.
Sanders went on to say, “Aside from the disruption of the academic schedule there is also a sanitation and a safety issue when there is no water.The building could burn down which in and of itself would be a major tragedy but if there are children in the building that would be an even bigger tragedy — with 600 children in the building and no fire protection we can’t afford to take that risk.”
Baldwin Mayor Donna Lanceslin said the town officials are taking steps to address the issue with Baldwin’s problems with the water but the town’s pipes are old. She said the pipes are over 50 years old and Work is currently underway and should be 95% complete by August.
Last month, Baldwin’s water supply was placed as one of the 10 most distressed water systems in the state by the govenor’s office. That list had stated conditions like deteriorating pipes and pumps, problems with managing the water system, insufficient financing for maintenance and water quality threats as some of the reasons the towns were listed.
The Mayor went on to say nobody informed her of the change in water line services.
Sanders said that it is nothing against the Town of Baldwin, Mayor Lanceslin has been a champ for the school.
The allocated funds to connect Raintree Elementary to an alternate municipal water system in case Baldwin’s water service was interrupted or not accessible for use was the St Mary Parish School Board Maintenance District 1 according to Bagwell.