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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Lockport Career Magnet Center opens to public

Lockport Career Magnet Center opens to public

The Career Magnet Center in Lockport is now open to the public and will allow junior and senior high school students in Lafourche Parish to earn industry-based certificates, receive field-related internships and work with industry mentors while attending high school.

“With a lot of work, due diligence and about $15 million later, here we are today,” school Superintendent Jo Ann Mathews said at the center's grand opening Tuesday.

The $15.7 million Career Magnet Center is located at 6419 La. 308 in Lockport. The 57,000-square-foot campus sits on about 1,200 acres of land once used to grow sugar cane.

Center officials originally anticipated an enrollment of 1,000 but announced Tuesday that enrollment was only about 300. The distance from north and south Lafourche, its location is almost exactly halfway between South Lafourche High School and Thibodaux High School, and a lack of interest from upperclassmen were cited as potential causes for the unexpected number.

But officials remained optimistic saying they believe enrollment will double by next year through word of mouth and with younger students.

The Center offers courses in agriculture, allied health science, automotive, construction technology, cosmetology, culinary, marine operations, process technology, welding and student teaching, and could essentially give students a more focused education than a traditional high school.

Its long-term goal is to help students get a head start on a degree in either a technical or four-year college or even straight into the workforce making a solid income.

For students who plan on attending four-year colleges, the center offers advanced placement courses in calculus, English IV, chemistry and physics.

Officials say they also have future plans to integrate the community into the work being done in the school's shops, such as cosmetology students working on local clients, food service classes preparing meals for community meetings and automotive students fixing residents' cars.

More than 100 visitors toured the new facility.