NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced today a $26.5 million public assistance grant to the St. Bernard Parish School Board, helping to fund the construction of the parish's new Gauthier Elementary School.
This recent grant is the result of FEMA approving the local school board's alternate project request, which asked that federal funding provided for Katrina-related damages at P.G.T. Beauregard Middle School be utilized instead to rebuild other school system facilities in the best interest of their larger community.
"The intention of our Public Assistance Grant Program is to effectively aid in the rebuilding of communities devastated by disasters," said Acting Executive Director of FEMA's Louisiana Recovery Office Joe Threat. "Local applicants, such as the St. Bernard Parish School Board, best know how to rebuild their facilities as they see needed, and it is our responsibility and desire at FEMA to enable them to do so whenever possible."
Since Katrina-related damages at P.G.T. Beauregard Middle School's campus surpassed a 50 percent damage threshold, FEMA previously determined the school was eligible for replacement funding.
In support of the school board's request and post-Katrina rebuilding needs, FEMA's recently announced grant will now go toward constructing a new Gauthier Elementary School at 1201 Bayou Road, the pre-Katrina P.G.T Beauregard Middle School site.
"This funding allows us to move forward with the construction of yet another top-notch educational facility for our students," said St. Bernard Parish Superintendent of Schools Doris Voitier. "It is the result of our ongoing partnership with FEMA and our joint determination to rebuild St. Bernard's public school system in a manner that best serves the children in this community."
Demolition of the former middle school is complete. Construction of the new elementary school is underway with completion projected for May 2011.
To date, FEMA has provided more than $451.5 million overall in public assistance grants to the St. Bernard Parish School Board in support of their restoration efforts.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.