Board moves forward with Destrehan’s athletic facelift

March 19, 2008 at 11:32 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Even though the estimated cost of the project has recently spiked from $1.5 million to around $2.25 million, the school board voted to go ahead with Destrehan's athletic facility relocation by sending it out for bid.

However, John Rome, supervisor of physical plant, transportation and safety services, says that the increased cost has a lot to do with the project entering its design phase.

“The initial estimated budget was based on soft costs and projections,” Rome said. “Those numbers are going to change when you talk to project engineers and get harder figures in the design stage.”

The plan is part of Phase 2 of the board's athletics and physical education master plan and will lead to improved facilities at the school. When the project is completed, Destrehan will not only have a new softball field, with seating for almost double the amount of spectators the field currently can hold, but will also have new tennis courts, a covered court with restrooms, a multi-purpose building for indoor practice, along with improvements to the baseball field.

The improvements to the baseball field include a new bleacher system that will allow a better view of the field. The multi-purpose facility will have retractable batting cages with nets that can be raised to the ceiling in case other groups, such as the dance team, band members or ROTC, want to use the building when it rains.

Part of the project's increase is due to the repositioning of the softball field so that the sun is kept out of the player's eyes. The other part comes from having to make one of the team rooms built up to proper base flood elevations and trying to maintain a service road to reach the new facilities after their completion, architect Ken Zito, of Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects, who designed the relocation, said.

Another of that company's projects is also creeping above budget. The new Hahnville team room, which was to cost $670,000, will now cost close to $150,000 more because the entire building will have to be raised 42 inches. 

“It was a little bit more than I anticipated,” Zito said.
It will cost $150,000 more because Zito said that he thinks it will be better to design a perimeter retaining wall for the entire 42 inches. That is more expensive than using fill, but Zito said that using fill would affect drainage on the baseball field.

“Before we say go, we need to find out where the money is going to come from and identify a revenue stream,” School Board President John Smith said. “The issue of elevation is elementary and I don't see why we are dealing with issues of elevation at this point. I hope our architect understands what I'm saying.”

Superintendent Rodney Lafon presented the school board with information on where they stand on their current projects, and after reading that information, the board decided to go ahead with the change order for the Hahnville team room.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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