Engineering firms lining up for St. John Airport projects

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 31, 2005


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Wednesday at noon was the deadline for engineering firms to submit applications to a newly appointed St. John the Baptist Parish Airport Consultant Selection Committee for approval to administer several work projects for the St. John the Baptist Parish Airport in Reserve.

“Seven firms submitted credentials for consideration,” said Civil Defense Director Paul Oncale.

The firms are: Professional Engineering Corporation (PEC), headquartered in Baton Rouge; T. Baker, Smith and Son, Inc., housed in Thibodaux; C.H. Fenstermaker & Assoc., operating out of Lafayette, New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Houston; Glenn Shaheen & Assoc., located in Gonzales; Krebs, LaSalle, LeMieux Consulting from New Orleans; Riverlands Surveying Co., here in LaPlace and Buchart Horn Inc., stationed in Metairie.

Oncale said he received the first application Tuesday at 4 p.m. and he acquired the final appeal Wednesday at 3:50 p.m. All seven companies hand delivered their petitions.

“The current engineer’s contract with the parish expires in April. A new firm will replace the existing firm in a new five-year contract,” said Oncale.

Tuesday night, the Parish Counsel unanimously approved a six-man committee, organized for the hiring process.

Appointed were Airport Advisory Board Chairman Eugene Borne, Parish Engineer C.J. Savoie, Parish Council Chairman Joel McTopy, Parish Councilman Cleveland Farlough, Parish Councilman Allen St. Pierre and Oncale.

The committee has two to three months to select its candidate, but Oncale said a decision will most likely be made within one to two weeks.

Advertisements for the position were published in area newspapers on Jan. 5 and 12.

The public notice asked engineering firms, interested in performing services for one or more airport projects, to submit qualification statements.

Seven airport projects were listed in the advertisement. They were:

€ Clearing a runway and an approach surface

€ Forming a taxi lane and an apron for the north hangar complex.

€ Improving airfield lighting and NAVAIDS

€ Developing a parking lot for the north apron

€ Creating taxi lanes and an apron for the south t-hangar development

€ Producing a parking lot for the t-hangar area

€ Constructing an aviation fuel system.

The projects are to be performed as funds become available.

“The projects will not cost this parish a dime,” said Oncale. “The FAA Federal Administration will pay 95 percent of all engineering, material and construction costs. The remaining 5 percent will be paid by the Louisiana Department of Transportation Aviation Division.”

Oncale said the total price tag for all seven projects is nearly $2 million.

The new engineering company will be expected to perform services that could include surveys, preliminary investigations, preliminary and final construction plans, specifications, cost estimates, construction administration, resident inspection and other special services.

All potential applicants were required to fill out a SOQ-1 form.

“An applicant must satisfy FAA requirements,” said Oncale. “There is a set of strategic guidelines required by the FAA. It is the commissions duty to make sure these guidelines are followed precisely.”

Oncale said he believed the six-man team will select its nominee in one day.

The committee will present its recommendation to the Parish Council. It is then up to the Council to appoint an engineer.

St. Pierre was chosen to participate in the engineering selection project because the airport is in his district. Farlough was selected because the airport is in his division.

Councilman Lester Rainey abstained from voting for airport committee members, citing a representative for the west bank should have chosen for the special selection committee.

The panel originally consisted of five men. However, after Rainey’s objections were raised, the Parish Council appointed McTopy to represent the interest of the entire Parish Council.

McTopy said he will brief the Council on every move made by the committee.