HOUMA, Louisiana — Terrebonne Parish School Board is looking at ways to update aging school buildings and has met with a demographer who may be hired to do a population study, the Courier (http://bit.ly/1CV1ZfA) reported.
Wendel Dufour, director of the University of New Orlean's Division of Planning Services, said the parish's population has been increasing over the last 10 years with significant spikes following Hurricane Katrina and the oilfield boom.
"I think what you're looking at is a result in migration from Hurricane Katrina and possibly Rita. People looking for temporary housing, not wanting to be far away from home," Dufour said.
Officials have long said the population is moving north, away from a receding coast and safer from catastrophic weather.
"There's a certain amount of vulnerability built into living in south Louisiana," Dufour said. "Understanding how to build in those areas and how to make your development resilient in those areas is important in planning."
School Board member Brenda Babin said any plan needs to take into account the changing environment of public education.
"Public school education as we know it will be different 20 years from now. We need to keep that in mind and plan for those things," Babin said.
Dufour said he'd like to identify several factors, including future population by school district and the age of the population.
While Dufour hasn't been hired as the demographer yet, school Superintendent Philip Martin said it's a matter of time before a deal is completed.
Officials have long identified the district's aging buildings as a central issue. The average age of schools in Terrebonne is more than 60 years — with some being more than 100 years old.