The commission held a special meeting Thursday at the Patterson Civic Center where it voted to postpone payment to Aegis for the delay in construction of the center.
The drainage district put baskets filled with sand and stone on the levee for the May 2011 flood in front of the center, which resulted in Aegis not having access to the welcome center building, said Cajun Coast Executive Director Carrie Stansbury.
The commission also authorized the chairperson to accept the benefits of a third party beneficiary contract for the restoration and completion of the welcome center.
Gary McGoffin of Lafayette, the attorney for the commission, explained how the third party beneficiary contract would work.
“The commission is a public body, and the public body bid law applies,” he said. “Because of the unusual circumstances with the center here, and the insurers coming in basically to make a payment for the reconstruction, those funds if they flow through the commission could require that it be a public bid project,” he said.
The chairperson of the commission is authorized to sign the contract between Phoenix Cajun Coast and the company who gets the contract, he said.
The commission created a new entity called Phoenix Cajun Coast solely for the purpose of overseeing the rebuilding of the center, and the new entity would contract with whichever company receives the contract to rebuild the center, McGoffin said. “We don’t have the specific contract pending tonight,” he said. “Before she (chairperson Kim Walden) would sign off on that we will be back with a specific contract in mind. This just allows us to know that we can use this approach to it.”
Mark Goodwin of Orleans Shoring Co. presented his findings and bid to the commission to elevate the building, repair the foundation and push pilings underneath the structure. “I’ve already been to the site on two occasions and pushed preliminary test piles to find out what the soils were all about,” Goodwin said. Goodwin’s bid just to raise the building was $1.483 million, Stansbury said.
Phoenix Cajun Coast is looking for a company to do the entire project, including raising and repairing the building, Stansbury said.
Normally, with the piling blocks the company uses, it is not able to drive past a layer of calcium at 57 feet below the earth’s surface, Goodwin said. “So we went back to invest in a larger pumping machine that allows to push a larger velocity of pressure with less volume of hydraulic fluids to be able to push these blocks, hopefully, through that,” he said.
Goodwin said if his company does the project, it would use more than 200 pilings putting a “chain-wall footing” on top of each piling and install 116 “piers,” which would nearly double the amount of piers the center had before, he said. “Worst case scenario, if you had this thing full of its total occupancy with a snow load and a hurricane at the same time, you should not be able to collapse this structure,” Goodwin said.
The commission also voted in favor of using up to $50,000 from its construction budget to restore and finish building the center.