Lincoln Preparatory moves into new building

Lincoln Preparatory moves into new building
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 7:21 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - It’s been almost three years since Lincoln Preparatory School was forced to move off of Grambling State University’s campus due to a long-standing desegregation case filed in the 1960′s.

On March 14, they began relocating first through fourth grade students into the new building.

Gordon Ford, the Executive Director of Lincoln Prep, says the relocation was discussed between the Department of Justice and the school’s lawyers, but in January, a court order forced them to relocate.

“We fought with the Justice Department for several years, them trying to close the school and what we finally came to was a mediated settlement by the judge that as long as we separated from Grambling State University, we would have permission to continue to operate this school,” Ford says.

Ford says they didn’t have a temporary building lined up, so they worked with what they could to keep school going.

“We rented space at the movie theater, we partnered with churches and used classrooms in local churches. We rented some space that wasn’t being used by a local private school. We put kids everywhere that we could, so that we could hold class and teach kids,” Ford says.

Dallas Caldwell, a third grade teacher at Lincoln Prep, says the constant adjustment was hard on students, but also on teachers.

“My classroom was in my car, so every Friday, I would pack up my classroom in my car and we would wait to learn where our next destination was gonna be and then we would drive and unload it that Monday morning,” Caldwell says.

Caldwell says the distraction of moving so often was hard on the students who had to relearn some of the basics.

The original building on the GSU campus was built in the 50′s and needed an upgrade, according to Ford.

The new school building features one wing for first and second graders, one wing for third and fourth graders, one wing for middle school students and one wing for high school students. All wings connect to the central cafeteria, which also serves as a tornado shelter in case of an emergency.

Ford says the opening of this new building shows that Lincoln Prep is in it for the long haul.

“You know we’ve been dogged every year by rumors that we’re gonna close, whether it was because of the Justice department or some other baseless rumor, you know every year it’s ‘are you guys gonna be open’ next year and this says to the world, no we’re here, we’re here, we’re not going anywhere,” Ford says.

The $30 million building and $15 million athletic centers, that are still in the works, were funded through state revenue bonds.

Ford says they expect all students, 1st-12th grade, to be in the new school by Easter.