West Monroe High School expanding, buying-out some residential properties

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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The neighborhood around West Monroe High School could soon look a lot different. Principal Shelby Ainsworth says they are looking to buyout residential properties for a much-needed expansion.

West Monroe High School buying out area properties to expand.

"We would love it if we could be able to buy up a block property all the way around our facility," he said. "There's been a major effort, over the last few years, to buy up properties."

Ainsworth said the campus is considered landlocked. He said the school has more than 2300 students, so expansion is needed.

"It would make our campus more spacious. It'd be more attractive and give us more room for parking," Ainsworth said.

Kenneth Williams lives across the street from the high school. He said he had not been asked to buyout yet, but would not mind.

"If the school continues to grow then they need the room," Williams said. He said he would prefer more educational expansion over sports expansion though.

Ainsworth says they have already purchased some homes in the area. Ainsworth says they bought out land to expand the courts and practice fields too. The school also bought Edgewood Baptist Church a few years ago.

"We renovated the [church's] gym that was there already on the property and the rest of it we're going to be demolishing real soon," he said. "We've actually had families reach out to us about wanting to sell their house or their properties," he said,

Some homeowners told KNOE they did not accept the buyout.

"I would say, anybody that wasn't on board with the expansion doesn't really realize the room that it takes," Ainsworth said.

He said years ago there were conversations of considering a new high school for West Monroe. Since those talks though, Ainsworth says they have put in millions of dollars to accommodate growth.

"Highly doubtful, now, we're going anywhere," he said.

Ainsworth said funding could come from Westside sales tax, general fund or even a maturing bond.