St. John animal shelter slowed by high bids

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 11, 2008


Staff reporter

EDGARD – The St. John Parish Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to reject all bids for construction of the parish’s new animal shelter after the bids came in well over budget.

Public Safety Director Paul Oncale said the low bid of $746,000 greatly exceeds the $450,000 budget the parish originally set for construction of the building. He told the council he received a letter from Murray Architects, the designers of the shelter, requesting that the parish reject the bids and consider redesigning the building.

Oncale said that the architects suggested the parish consider a wood framed structure as opposed to a steel framed building for the shelter. He said it might lower the cost of construction by $100,000 to $150,000.

During Tuesday’s meeting, District 4 Councilwoman Jaclyn Hotard said she had concerns that a redesign to a wood structure may not be as safe as a steel structure and also wanted to know if it would last as long. She asked the administration to compare costs and safety in order to see how a change in design may affect the stability of the building.

“We want something that will last a long time,” said Hotard. “I want to make sure we do the right thing.”

St. John Public Information Officer Buddy Boe said the parish would probably be ready to reopen bids at the next council meeting, scheduled for July 22.

In other action from Tuesday’s meeting, the council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution in support of Nucor Steel Company, who is contemplating construction of a steel mill in St. James Parish. St. John Chief Administrative Officer Pat McTopy said the facility will provide economic opportunity to the entire River Parish region and said St. John Parish should throw its support behind the proposal of the plant.