Future of crime fighting

Sheriff selects builder for complex that will change way office deals with hurricanes, crime

The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office has chosen a builder for their new 39,000 square-foot law enforcement complex, Sheriff Greg Champagne said.

Champagne received bids two weeks ago, with the lowest being one from Parish General Contractors at $6.3 million. However, due to a problem with the low bidder, Champagne selected Aegis Construction Company, who was the second lowest bidder.

Aegis’ base bid was $6.93 million.

In June, Champagne took bids on the project, but the low bid came in at $7.794 million, which exceeded the office’s $7 million budget for the project. That caused Champagne to wipe the slate clean and begin again.

The first time Champagne went out for bids, only five companies responded. This time, 14 companies bid on the project.

The new building, which will sit upon 7.74 acres of land on Sugarland Parkway in Luling, will allow Champagne to consolidate operations. When the building is complete, the department’s patrol division, investigations division, juvenile division and crime scene division will all be under one roof.

“There is no doubt that the new building will bring more efficiency to the department’s crime-fighting ability,” Champagne said.

The complex will have 65 offices and there will be 140 personnel who will circulate through it. Besides allowing the department to consolidate divisions, equipment such as boats and vehicles will be kept there as well.

Technology wise, Champagne said that the roll call room will have a large screen that will display ongoing events like recent crimes and cases.

“We can get everybody in one room and have roll calls where detectives can consult with patrol officers about ongoing investigations,” Champagne said.

The building will also house a large multi-purpose room that can be used for training.

One of the most impressive things about the complex, however, is that it will be able to sustain 150 mile per hour winds. Because the building is centrally located and sits on high land, Champagne said that it is the “perfect” spot to be in case of a storm.

“We will be ready for the next hurricane,” he said.

And the Sheriff’s Office will also be ready for the future. Because of the way the building is designed, there will be room to add on 14,000 square feet if the need arises.

“We are trying to think down the road,” Champagne said. “I won’t be around if and when the Sheriff’s Office decides to expand, but it is possible to do so.”

The construction of the new complex will have no effect on the office’s annual budget, Champagne said. The office did have to refinance the Nelson Coleman Correction Center at $8 million and borrow $7 million for the complex, but the indebtedness only went up $100,000 a year. That’s the exact amount of money the Sheriff’s Office will save by not having to lease a building in St. Rose that currently houses the investigations division.

 

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