Bayou Academy looks at plans for the future
by Kevin Pearson
Jul 16, 2013 | 2076 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bayou Academy held its Focus on the Facilities presentation Monday evening and again Tuesday morning.

The purpose of these meetings was to highlight some of the past improvements that have been made to the school and to propose possible renovations and upgrades that are being considered.

The meeting started off showing the past enrollment and debts in the past few years.

The enrollment was on the rise from 2006 to 2011, but has fallen only by about 30 students since then.

Bayou Academy’s debts, which were at $1,021,000 in 2005, have now been completely paid off thanks to the Focus on the Future campaign.

During the Focus on the Future campaign, all of the donations were not used to pay off the debts.

Some of the donations and excess operation funds was also used to improve the school’s facilities, such as the academic entrances, air conditioning in the gym, a new gym floor and stage, softball dugouts and backstop, bathroom and concession stand at the baseball/softball complex, football bleachers, courtyard renovations, new storage behind the gym, cafeteria expansion, two new classrooms in the elementary section, technology upgrades, and the purchase of an activities bus.

After the debts were paid off, President of the Bayou Academy School Board Bob Reed realized that “you can’t just sit still. You have to continue to challenge your patrons to support you in providing those improvements.”

Reed said, “If we’re not improving then we’re losing ground on this competitive environment for these students.”

It was discussed with the school board and the foundation board and they decided to start the Focus on the Facilities Campaign.

Two of the improvements at Bayou Academy have already been approved and are in the process of completion.

The $25,000 weight room makeover has been approved and will be completed this week, while the installment of field lights at the baseball fields, projected at $110,000, will begin at the end of July or Aug. 1.

Some of the possible renovations and upgrades up for consideration are technology upgrades, a new gym entrance to match the academic entrances, an addition to the elementary section that would include classroom space and a multi-purpose area to be used for physical education and recess, multipurpose event seating for the gym, visitor bleachers, land for school growth, a three lane practice track, and concrete parking lot by the football, softball, and baseball fields.

To complete these renovations, the Focus on the Facilities Campaign has an initial goal of finding 100 people to donate $5,000, even if paid over the next three to five years.

Although this is the initial goal, the goal will raise to $750,000 and then $1,000,000 once the initial goal is met.

“We’re not going to let this sit. We believe in it and we think it will be successful,” said Reed.

The time it will take to complete the renovations will depend on the cash flow from donors.

As of Tuesday morning there have been 44 commitments to donate.

Bayou Academy hopes to have commitments from the first 100 people by September 6, 2013.

This campaign will also free up the general fund so it can be used for academics and teaching.

Bayou Academy has had a high graduation rate, hundreds of thousands in scholarships awarded to students, students involved in charity and community work, six State Championships in softball, two baseball state championships, an All SEC baseball player, and a former student go on the be Miss Mississippi.

“We are all very confident and excited about the fact that this is going to be successful,” said Reed. “Please participate with us. Please think about how you can help us push this campaign and make it successful. If you have ideas about things that should be on the possible to-do list, tell us. We love to hear any ideas about what you think will make Bayou a better place for the students that attend here and make them enjoy their time here more.”