Change orders approved for West Bank Public Safety Complex

Published 12:06 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

LAPLACE — The St. John the Baptist Parish Council recently voted to execute two change orders to account for delays encountered early on during the construction of the West Bank Public Safety Complex.

Change Order No. 2 adds an additional 258 days to the original contract with Aegis Construction dated July 16, 2019 due to delays sustained while the Mississippi River was high in 2020, movement of pile locations and changes to the fire protection system. The cost of Change Order No. 2 is $32,467, funded through a cooperative endeavor agreement between the St. John Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Fire Services at a 50/50 cost-share.

An additional 118 days was added to the contract through Change Order No. 3, which accounts for delays experienced during the high-water event, as well as the unforeseen relocation of an AT&T fiber optic line that was running through the property. The cost of Change Order No. 3 was $98,100, also funded through a 50/50 cost share between the St. John Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Fire Services.

The original contract, approved in July 2019, was for $1,855,500.00 with a substantial completion date no later than 320 calendar days from the commencement of work. Going beyond that time frame necessitated change orders to the original contract. Despite delays early on, St. John Parish executed a certificate of substantial completion for the project during the Parish Council meeting held on September 28, 2021.

District 5 Councilman Robert Arcuri was the only council member to vote against Change Order No. 3 during the December 28, 2021 Parish Council meeting. During the discussion, Arcuri questioned how the fiber optic cable was missed during the construction phase of the project.

Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said that with large projects, there is unfortunately the possibility of human error. However, she is optimistic about the West Bank Public Safety Complex’s role in the community, and she looks forward to closing out the project.

“I will say the building looks great,” Hotard said. “I’ve been on the inside. It’s such a complement for the West Bank to have both the Office of Fire Services and the Sheriff’s Office (in one location).”

Officials broke ground on the West Bank Public Safety complex in September 2019 along River Road near the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Wallace. Construction was halted for the AT&T line in November 2019 and then again due to rising waters of the Mississippi River in 2020. Construction resumed in July 2020.

The 6,000 square foot, $2 million complex is a joint venture between the St. John Sheriff’s Office and the St. John Office of Fire Services to increase police, fire and medical presence on the West Bank.

The building features bays for housing trucks and equipment, meeting space, an office, sleep quarters, a common reception area, a day room, a kitchen, restrooms and a break area. Other features include covered parking for Acadian Ambulance Services, a bay for voting, a walkway to the nearby park and backup generator power.