Lafayette airport commissioners to meet with firms interested in designing new, $90-million passenger terminal _lowres

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK -- The Lafayette Regional Airport sign is pictured Monday, February 15, 2016, in Lafayette, La.

The Lafayette Airport Commission on Wednesday narrowed the number of architecture firms vying to design the new passenger terminal to three, whittling the number from the eight national and international companies that submitted proposals.

The three companies still in the running to design the $90 million terminal and other airport projects are: Gensler, 50-year-old company based in San Francisco; RS&H of Jacksonville, Florida, a 75-year-old design firm with international offices; and century-old HNTB, of Kansas City, Missouri.

Airport Deputy Director Daniel Elsea, who sat on the five-person selection committee, said all the firms that submitted proposals had Lafayette-area companies on their teams. A list of the local companies and which firm they were affiliated with was not provided Wednesday night.

The selection committee spent parts of three days in mid-February listening to presentations by the eight firms and also questioning them. Then committee members took home thick books that each firm had submitted.

“Let me say that what has been implemented here … is one of the best processes I’ve seen,” said Kam Movassaghi, an engineer in private practice who at one time was Louisiana’s transportation secretary.

It’s up to the seven-member commission now to choose one architecture firm from the three that made the cut.

While the architect list was being whittled down this week, presentations were being made by four project management firms that submitted proposals. Those firms, called “project management and construction management” or PMCMs in government parlance, pitched their proposals to the selection committee.

The commission will be given the option of slimming the list of PMCMs from four to three at the next regular commission meeting on Wednesday, Elsea said. Elsea did not identify the four firms.

The commission is aiming to have both the architecture firm and the PMCM selected by June 1. Both companies will work together to build the terminal, which will cost an estimated $90 million and add parking. The contract also will cover another $60 million in design and construction work around the airport, including on runways. The term of the contract will be for three years, with options by the commission to award two additional one-year terms.

Lafayette Parish residents in December 2014 voted to tax themselves an extra penny for each dollar they spent on goods to help pay for the terminal. The tax was unique in that it had a sunset: the 1 extra cent was charged from April 1 to Nov. 30. Almost $32.6 million was collected, and will be added to federal and state grants and borrowed money to reach $90 million.

“They trusted us with the tax money,” Commission Chairman Paul Guilbeau said. “We want the public to know how much we’re putting into this.”

Guilbeau, Commissioner Paul Segura, Elsea, Movassaghi and airport environmental compliance Officer Ashley Simon make up the selection committee.