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Inspectors will be able to go inside of former Baskin School after Franklin Parish School Board members signed off on the action at their regular Oct. 6 meeting.

School Board members gave Restoration of the Old Baskin High School Building permission to go into the 93-year-old structure with their roof inspectors to survey damages for possible renovation. The local group has been trying to restore the building for nearly a year.

Restoration of the Old Baskin High School Building agreed to get insurance for the roof inspectors and themselves before they go in.

The group will now get a firm estimate on how much the restoration will cost. Initial estimates to renovate Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation (LTHP) put the complete restoration at around $1.5 million to $2 million.

If the group wants to go forward with the restoration, they will have sign a joint cooperative agreement with the School Board.

“Before we start with the cooperative endeavor and before you start raising money, go ahead and see how much it costs then we can move forward,” said School Board member Alaina Nichols.

The joint cooperative agreement, authored by the School Board’s attorney Jon Guice with Hammonds, Sills, Adkins & Guice, LLP of Monroe, states the group must hire licensed design professionals and contractors, hold the School Board harmless from any liabilities, have all necessary insurances and raise the money for the renovations.

Upon completion of the renovation work, Restoration of the Old Baskin High School Building will lease the building from the School Board for 10 years, according to the joint cooperative agreement.

“We are trying to dot all of our i’s and cross all of our t’s because of the hype around it right now,” said Justin Lord, group spokesman. “We don’t want to make enemies here or at home.”

School Board member Eddie Ray Bryan was concerned over taxpayer money already being spent on former Baskin School.

“All of the paper work that has been done, the School Board has paid for it,” Bryan said. “The legal representation and everything, we’re steady putting money out.

“With all due to respect Mr. Eddie Ray, I’ve paid taxes for a longtime,” Lord said.

“Sure do, and you need to think about that,” Bryan said. “On our standpoint, we represent the people that pay the taxes.”

The former Baskin High School building is in dire shape after not being used on a regular basis for 15 years. Water damage caused by incomplete roof work in 2009 led to major water damage in the auditorium, and the majority of its windows are broken and bricks are missing. 

Members of the group are Lord, committee chairman; Kathryn Olivo, secretary; Angie Pierce, treasurer and Mandy Moroni, coordinator.

“We want to work together on this, but we also want to come to an agreement if it is not going to work then it’s not going to work,” Nichols said.

Additionally, School Board members approved the pupil progression plan for Franklin Parish schools.

The plan addressed student placement and promotion and supplements the minimum standards approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

Meanwhile, School Board members dismissed track equipment bids because no specifics were given to the advertisement.

The School Board will re-bid on the track equipment.

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