Demolition of the old Lafayette Natural Science Museum and Planetarium building on Girard Park Drive is scheduled to begin Dec. 4.
Plans call for 2.1 acres of open green space to replace the building, and for now, that will be limited to “trees and shade,” Brian McGrath, the city-parish arts and culture manager, told members of the Community Development Liaison Committee on Monday. Additional features such as a walking path or new benches are possible in the future, perhaps with help from Lafayette General Medical Center, McGrath said.
“Even if I wanted to do something with it, I don’t have the money for it right now,” McGrath said during the meeting.
The science museum moved to its current downtown location on Jefferson Street in 2001, leaving vacant the 12,000-square-foot building on Girard Park Drive.
The building has been a frequent target for vandalism since then and has sustained structural leaks throughout its life, McGrath said after the meeting. The building was slated for an oil-and-gas museum at one point, but those plans never materialized.
The City-Parish Council voted to demolish in July 2015, but the project stalled as the scope of work expanded to include upgrades to a drainage line that runs through the site. The work also includes removing a small amount of asbestos from the interior. The demolition will leave a hole in the ground that requires 300,000 cubic feet of dirt to fill, McGrath said.
“It’s going to be a lot of dirt,” he said.
Contractor Henderson Construction Services Inc. will have 72 working days to complete the demolition on a $295,500 contract, McGrath said.