Library needs more money
Architect for new East Bank branch asks for $400,000
The architect in charge of designing the new East Regional Library, Norman Chenevert, met with the St. Charles Parish Council's Legislative Committee to ask for additional money to complete the building.
Parish President V. J. St. Pierre says that a lawsuit filed against the parish by one of the bidders delayed the project for several months, costing the parish $404,856.12.
“We're working on trying to see if we can file a lawsuit against the company that caused the project to stall,” St. Pierre said at the meeting. “I agree that the $400,000 is a steep increase, but we're looking into seeing who can pay that money back so it doesn't have to come out of our budget.”
The price of some items have increased since the project originally went out for bids.
“The project went out for bids in December 2007,” Tim Vial, parish administrative officer, said. “The lawsuit filed against the parish caused the project to be delayed because we couldn't award the contract and they couldn't start the project.”
Vial says that because of the lawsuit, prices escalated on several line items.
“One of those line items that really went up involved steel, which increased by $110,000,” Vial said. “The Library Board did say they have the money to cover the loss, and they will seek possible litigation against Harris to cover the loss of funds.”
Harris Builders had filed suit calling into question the way the contract had been awarded. The company had the second-lowest bid.
Chenevert agrees that the escalation in price was due to an increase in products and services needed to construct the library, along with the delays forced by the legal case.
Parish attorney Sonny Vial says the council can vote against the $400,000 request.
“If the council does, then the library will have to look at ways to reduce some of the line items of the project,” he said.
Councilman Paul Hogan says he thinks that some of the costs of the project could be offset by reducing the type of roof the library gets along with eliminating wrought iron work that was sought to beautify the project.
“Just these two items alone will reduce the price,” he said. “I can understand that the prices would continue to increase just like everything else is going up.”
Hogan said that once the contract is signed and the parish has given the group permission to go forward with the library's construction, they won't be able to come back and ask the council for more money.
“Whenever they get the go-ahead to proceed forward, whatever date that's on the contract, they're locked in to those prices,” he said.
The original bid for the project was $8,416,500. The cost increase would stretch the project by 4.8 percent to $8,821,356.
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