Westwego is moving ahead on two major municipal building projects, with the long-delayed construction of its City Hall building going out for a second round of bids in coming weeks and the design of a new fire and Emergency Management Services station getting underway.
The City Council approved new plans for the City Hall building on Fourth Street at a special meeting Wednesday after the recently revised plans got a third-party review.
The review was ordered in September at the request of Councilman Glenn Green, who was concerned that the downscaling of the building that took place after the first round of bids came in too high earlier this year could make it susceptible to cost overruns.
Mayor John Shaddinger and Jimmie Papia, of Metairie-based Meyer Engineers, which designed the building, said the latest design, which was altered to bring the cost down by $500,000, passed the review. Green also said he was satisfied.
The city has $3.2 million for the building, and Shaddinger said he is confident the city can open the second round of bids by the end of the year. Construction is expected to take 15 months.
Papia said three features can be added to the latest base design, depending on how bids come in. They are, in order of priority, increased fire protection for the records room; an electronic voting system for the council and a card-based system for entering the building; and an emergency generator.
The council also approved the roughly $300,000 engineering and design contract for the $3.7 million fire and EMS station, which will be located at Fourth Street and Avenue H.
The station, which is being funded through the state’s Office of Facility Planning, should have at least three bays for the Westwego Fire Department’s firetrucks, though Chief Charles Hudson said he is optimistic it could have four.
Judging from a recently completed station in Belle Chasse, Hudson said, he’s optimistic that consultant CB&I can come up with a design that would include a two-story administrative section for the Fire Department and a one-story section with two garages for EMS.
Shaddinger said he is hoping the building can be designed in three months and bid on in six months, meaning both buildings could be finished by early 2016.