The state Bond Commission gave final approval to nearly $113 million in new construction spending Thursday, including money for the Old Governor’s Mansion and other local projects.
Looking at an allocation for a New Orleans splash park, state Treasurer John Kennedy offered a money-saving tip to the Jindal administration.
“We used to use a garden hose,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Jerry Jones with the Division of Administration quipped that children tripped over the sprinkler, necessitating a more modern way of cooling off.
A number of projects will not move forward. They include dollars for the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission, the Baton Rouge airport and the Odell S. Williams Now and Then Museum of African-American History in Baton Rouge.
Legislators approved more new funding for construction projects than the state could afford. The Jindal administration decided which projects to fund.
For East Baton Rouge Parish, the projects the Jindal administration agreed to fund include:
e_SBlt $850,000 for exterior waterproofing and plastering at the Old Governor’s Mansion.
e_SBlt $845,000 for environmental control systems at the Old State Capitol.
e_SBlt $820,000 for a Louisiana Digital Computer Facility.
e_SBlt $1 million toward construction of an exit ramp from Interstate 12 westbound onto Essen Lane.
e_SBlt $1 million to renovate LSU’s French House.
• $1.4 million for the expansion of LSU’s South Campus.
Carolyn Bennett, executive director of the Foundation for Historical Louisiana, said she is grateful for the funding for the Old Governor’s Mansion.
Plaster work will be repaired and the exterior will get a fresh coat of paint, giving the home a facelift.
“The mansion’s extreme makeover is finally here after over 10 years of back-and-forth discussion and careful planning … Happily for citizens, FHL’s preservation headquarters, educational programs, special events like weddings and tours will still be up and running,” Bennett said.
Brandee Patrick, spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said the money for the Old State Capitol will replace the historic building’s heating and air conditioning system. She said the new system will preserve the museum’s artifacts.
“The actual construction project will not begin for at least six months,” Patrick said.
Projects in the state construction, or capital outlay, budget are sorted into a priority system.
Priority 2 is for new spending.
Kennedy questioned the allocation of $2.5 million for land acquisition for public colleges and universities.
Jones said that funding makes its way into the state construction budget every year.
He said colleges sometimes need to expand or to purchase land to avoid acquiring an unwanted neighbor.