Paradis library moves one step closer to reality

Council recommends architect, plan calls for 6,341-square-foot building

May 27, 2009 at 10:19 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

In a close, 5-3 vote, the St. Charles Parish Council authorized the parish Library Board to hire Norman Chenevert & Associates to design a library in Paradis.

And at a Library Board meeting the next day, Library Director Mary desBordes said that, based on state standards and space requirements, the new library should be 6,341 square feet.

Chenevert has already designed two libraries in the parish - the St. Rose branch and the East Regional Library now under construction in Destrehan. Council President Terry Authement, who introduced the measure, said that the architect has done a “fair amount” of work as the parish has gone through the process of deciding on where to put a new branch in the Paradis area.

“Because he has done some work already on this branch, I’m just asking that we continue and give the Library Board the authority to go forward with Chenevert,” Authement said.

While the council was deciding whether or not to authorize the Library Board to hire Chenevert, the School Board’s Capital Improvements Committee agreed to recommend that the board enter into a cooperative agreement with the council.

That agreement would give the parish land that formerly housed the old Paradis Elementary School, and in turn, the land would be used for the new library’s construction. If the parish doesn’t break ground on a new library within two years, the land will go back to the School Board.

That two-year period is largely based on the fact that Authement told residents at a previous council meeting that a new library could be ready in that time frame.

His guarantee came up several times during Monday’s council meeting, especially when Councilman Paul Hogan wanted to amend the ordinance to specify the old school site as the one where Chenevert would design the library. The ordinance instead just listed Paradis, without naming a specific location.

“I can tell you, whether you amend it or not, I’m going to go down fighting if ya’ll change anything and prolong this process,” Authement said. “I mean, it’s going to be at that school site and I understand what you’re saying, but my months are clicking off.”

The amendment failed.

Fellow Councilman Shelley Tastet also reminded the council that they had promised people both a time frame and a price and jokingly said that Authement’s career was at stake.

Along with Hogan, Councilmen Billy Raymond and Marcus Lambert also voted against the measure. Raymond did so because he said he had a problem with giving the job to Chenevert without looking at other candidates. Lambert voted against the measure because he wanted to let the Library Board  decide the matter on their own.

“I’m not supporting this out of respect for the process,” he said.

Lifestyles Editor Heather Breaux contributed to this report.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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