Employees’ move into jail may come cheap

June 04, 2008 at 9:50 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Employees’ move into jail may come cheap
Converting the old parish jail into office space for St. Charles Parish workers won’t be as difficult or as costly as some might think.

The parish is considering selling scrap metal that will come from the dismantling of the old courthouse jail. That could help to offset some of the costs of demolition on the project.

“The demolition won’t cost as much or take as long as originally thought,” Mark East, facilities officer over the department of government buildings for the parish, said. “The structure is there and it’s already in place, so basically it would mean just removing all of the steel, copper, brass and concrete cinder blocks.”

In an effort to consolidate his offices, Parish President V.J. St. Pierre came up with the idea to renovate the third floor of the courthouse. That area was previously used as a jail.

East says bins could be set up behind the courthouse during the dismantling process and the precious metals can be sold.
“We can use the money to offset the costs of the demolition process,” he said. “The concrete cinder blocks can be recycled to be used for other parish projects.”

   East gave his report at Monday night’s council meeting on the progress of the proposed third floor renovations.
“We’ve done an extensive walkthrough of the third floor, and the electronic blue prints have already been sent to the architect,” he said. “We also did an assessment with the different departments to determine what each one needs in terms of office space.”

East says the jail is currently being used to house documents.
“The clerk of court has the most storage space, followed by the sheriff’s department,” he said. “Once the renovations are complete, we’re looking at bringing in 40-foot storage containers or using other owned parish facilities as storage space to house these documents.”

East says that the center section of the third floor was the original jail structure and the front and rear portions weren’t constructed until 1988, so renovating the space will not be something that’s foreign to them.

“The entire area is 23,000-square-feet,” he said. “The air conditioning and heating systems are already in place, now it’s just a matter of making sure the entire process makes sense by determining if it’s cost effective.”

 East says since the structure is already equipped with a ceiling, roof and floors, renovating the third floor instead of constructing a whole new facility was the best route to take.

 “A lot of the office space trend is to make cubicles for workers, rather than constructing offices for everybody,” he said. “That’s what we’ll look at doing, but right now we’re still just in the preliminary phase of the project.”

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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