New library faces legal hurdles

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008


Staff Reporter

HAHNVILLE – At the request of parish attorneys, the St. Charles Parish Council on Monday declined to move on executing a contract for construction of a new east bank library since it is still a pending legal matter.

The council was set to move on the proposal, which calls for a new 33,000-square-foot library in Destrehan, at a February 11 meeting. A lawsuit from Harris Builders, the second-lowest bidder in the project, has put off consideration of acceptance.

Attorneys for Harris argued that Lamar Contractors’ low bid of $7.9 million was invalid because it violated state bid law since it did not specify how many days it would take to complete the project.

Representatives from Lamar responded by pointing out clerical errors contained in the Harris bid. Parish administration had ruled that the bid from Lamar was acceptable because paperwork from the bid package specified that the project could not take longer than 425 days.

After hearing arguments from both sides that centered around which forms should be considered formal bid documents, 29th Judicial District Judge Emile St. Pierre threw out Harris’ complaint, but the case is still open in the event of appeal. Harris now has until March 10 to file for an appeal, or the project will move forward.

Once the building is completed, it will become the new headquarters of the St. Charles Parish Library system. It will include 25,000 square feet of library space and 8,000 square feet of office space. The move will give more space to patrons using the West Regional Library in Luling, which is used for administration offices.