DONALDSONVILLE — The Ascension Parish School Board on Tuesday awarded bids for $12.3 million in restoration work expected to bring St. Amant High and Galvez Primary schools back to full operation after last year’s floods.
School officials said the contract process for both jobs was expedited so the notices to proceed could be issued Wednesday, with the plan to have all or large portions of both campuses ready for next school year.
The schools in eastern Ascension are the last flood-damaged school campuses in the parish to have restoration work start after lengthy negotiations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency over projected federal reimbursement.
Superintendent David Alexander said the contracts seal “the deal” on the last major school campus restoration work in the system’s recovery from the 2016 flood.
“All of our schools where our children attend are now going to be either under construction or shortly under construction,” Alexander told the board minutes after the members voted on the bids.
After the School Board awarded the bids, St. Amant High Principal Beth Templet, who was sitting in the audience, gave a quiet cheer.
On both projects, Baton Rouge contractor Cangelosi Ward beat out at least five other companies for the low bid award and, combined, the bids came in $7 million under estimate.
The St. Amant High project, at $9.6 million, came in $5 million less than the school system’s estimate. The Galvez Primary project, at $2.7 million, came in about $2 million less than the estimate.
“We saw some good competitive bids,” Chad Lynch, director of planning and construction, said after the meeting.
Students have been back at both campuses, but are being housed in portable buildings or in unaffected parts of each campus.
Alexander told the board that work on Galvez Primary is expected to be largely finished, a point known as substantial completion, by June 8.
The St. Amant High job will be completed in three phases, the last of which won’t be finished until next December.
But the first phase, which will include the band hall, choir room, the science building and another classroom building, is expected to be substantially complete by Feb. 20.
The second phase, which includes all assembly spaces, including the high school’s iconic Gold Dome, is expected to be substantially finished by July 19. The remainder, which includes the school’s main building, won’t be finished until Dec. 6, 2018, Alexander said.
Meanwhile, restoration work started earlier this fall on the flood-damaged Lake Elementary and Galvez Middle school campuses and they are also expected to be substantially finished no later than June 20.
Work at St. Amant Primary and Middle schools is finished or close to completion. Despite the school campus work getting under way or finished, the school system is still in design to repair administrative and logistical buildings affected by the flood.
Separately, the school system also learned that FEMA has obligated more than $2 million in reimbursement funds for the work done on St. Amant Primary, school officials added.
“Just some outstanding news there,” Alexander said of the developments.