St. Charles jail proposal tabled

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008


Staff reporter

HAHNVILLE – A proposal to hire a New Orleans architectural firm to convert a former jail on the third floor of the St. Charles Parish courthouse into needed office space was tabled Monday by the Parish Council.

The proposal, put forth by Parish President V.J. St. Pierre, was sent to the finance committee for more discussion.

Debate on the subject went on between St. Pierre and council members, who wanted to know why the parish president did not use the parish’s quality-based selection process when he chose Sizeler, Thompson, Brown Architects Regional Design Group of New Orleans for the design phase of the project.

St. Pierre argued that since the project is an architectural contract instead of a construction contract, it did not require the selection process.

The 19,000-square-foot jail has been out of commission since 2001, when the Nelson Coleman Correctional Facility was opened. Various parish government agencies have been asking for more space in the courthouse for a number of years.

The current parish budget has set aside about $1.8 million for the project.

Councilman Dennis Nuss asked for the motion to be tabled because he wanted to get more information about the project before going forward with it, but Councilman Carolyn Schexnaydre said she wanted to wait until the appraisal from the architects was complete before sending the matter to the finance committee.

The proposal will be up for debate at the next finance committee meeting later this month.