SOUTHDOWN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
OWNER TERREBONNE PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT
LOCATION HOUMA, LA
SQUARE FOOTAGE 99,610 GSF
BUDGET $18.2 MILLION
ARCHITECT SHELLEY OLIVIER, AIA (while employed by The Merlin Group)
General Classrooms: 33 @ 900 s.f. = 29,700 s.f. + Computer Lab: 1,200 s.f. + Band Room: 1,150 s.f. + Library: 1,800 s.f. + Student Mall Area: 3,450 s.f. + Main Administration Area 3650 s.f. + Curriculum Specialist Office: 1,095 s.f. + Cafeteria: 5,000 s.f. + Kitchen and Service Area: 5,240 s.f. + Existing Gym to be Renovated: 11,360 s.f. + Covered Outdoor Area: 1,795 s.f. + Covered Pre-K and K Playground: 3,500 s.f. + Covered Bus Canopy Area: 2,955 s.f.
Built in 1951, Southdown is historically known as the parish’s only black public high school, but it became a middle school and an elementary school in the years following segregation. The school currently serves 482 students in grades PreK-6.
Over the years the school has become antiquated with significant structural issues ranging from the slab, air-conditioning, plumbing, infrastructure, thinning walls and rusted pipes due to a lack of long-term upkeep. In 2016, everything except for the existing gymnasium was demolished and construction of the new facility started in January 2017. Alumni and school board officials decided to renovate the existing gym rather than demolish it because of it's historic importance to the community. The gym and small site dictated new construction location and the design organically formed a center courtyard for recess and outdoor learning. Classrooms are grouped by grade on secondary hallways allowing primary hall circulation to flow without lesson interruption. This modern design and elegant composition of brick, metal panels and green tinted glass will be a proud representation of community image for decades.