The rich history of the City of Plaquemine Activity Center (COPAC) is a fine example of government reinventing the old for new community purposes.
The facility, the former Plaquemine High School, was built in 1931, with the attached gymnasium added in 1937. The original two-story Art Deco building was built under the W.P.A. Program. The gymnasium was designed for boxing matches, for which Plaquemine hosted many champions during the 1950s. The football stadium was built as a fall-out shelter. It served as the public high school facility in Plaquemine until 1993, when a new high school was completed.
This 2-story Art Deco style public school building structure was built during the progressive W.P.A. Program in 1931 and the gymnasium in 1937 encompassing eight acres. Eight individual buildings are located on the site with complete educational and athletic amenities. This beautifully landscaped property, located in the heart of the city, is completely fenced and encompasses an entire city block in a primarily residential section which houses some of Plaquemine’s finest families.
By that time, the two-story Art Deco style building was accompanied by seven other educational and athletic buildings encompassing eight acres and an entire city block. The beautifully landscaped property is located in the heart of the city’s residential section.
In 1995, the Plaquemine Mayor and Board of Selectmen became interested in the "Old Plaquemine High School” when it was realized that the Iberville Parish School Board had no future plans for this site. It had been abandoned for over two years when new facilities were constructed. The site includes a football stadium, which is constructed of solid concrete and could possibly qualify as a Class A bomb shelter.
The City of Plaquemine asked the Iberville Parish School Board to donate the site and facilities to the city. The donation was complete in January 1996. The city first reconditioned the grass track and football field and added lighting, making it suitable for a walking track and for teams to use as a practice field for football, soccer and baseball. Both uses have become popular with city residents.
The gymnasium was restored under the watchful eye of Mayor Mark "Tony” Gulotta, with roof repairs, painting, bathroom reconstruction and drainage added. It is now used on a regular basis by a variety of basketball teams for practices, games and tournaments.
Some local schools enjoy the availability of COPAC’s facilities when their team populations overflow their school capacity use, but COPAC also hosts basketball practices, tournaments and World Games for Biddy Basketball, a national organization. The Plaquemine Renegades, a local team of the Riverside Independent Football League and the Baton Rouge Riverboat Bandits of the Southern American Football League (semi-pro-team) are regular users of COPAC field facilities. The gym and grounds were made assessable for FEMA Hurricane Katrina relief workers and operations; and a movie shoot was made on the site. The 2002-03 movie "The Badge” featured actors Billy Bob Thorton, Sela Ward, Patricia Arquette, Jena Malone and Julie Hagerty.
COPAC grounds also hosts community events such as Relay for Life, and past events such as the Gospel Fest and the St. Jude Antique Car Show, and Louisiana Main Street Bicycle Tour. During Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike,, the site served as a temporary housing unit for military and governmental units. This site is also used by the Louisiana Film and Entertainment Industry as a base camp for film production.
Today COPAC offers a year-round walking senior track which is open from dawn to dusk. COPAC gym and football field is available for school teams and community groups for basketball practice, games and special events that are open to the public. The gym is open by appointment only and must be scheduled during business hours.
Today, COPAC facilities have been rented to over 28 organizations or entities for gym & football field use. All events must be open to the public. No private events (private parties, bridal/baby showers, teen dances) can be scheduled.
COPAC Site Location:
24130 Ferdinand St
Plaquemine, LA 70764-3214
To book COPAC:
Plaquemine City Hall – Third Floor
23640 Railroad Avenue, Plaquemine, LA 70764-2754
Hours: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. - Monday-Friday
225-687-3116 -- Fax: 225-685-1194
P.O. Box 675
Plaquemine, LA 70765-0675