Cajun Coast Welcome and Interpretive Center
By JEAN L. KAESS
As parties in the collapse of the Cajun Coast Welcome and Interpretive Center enter mediation today, one solution out of six options to repair the building appears to have been decided upon.
The mediation is to determine who pays for the repairs. However, the St. Mary Parish Tourist Commission is not paying for the repairs.
Expert House Movers, a structural moving company which has completed projects across the eastern United States, presented a turnkey foundation proposal that will allow the welcome center to be repaired in place.
The welcome center, on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Morgan City, sunk about 5.5 feet into the swamp since its foundation gave way June 14. The building was approximately one month away from completion when it failed.
EHM’s repair proposal calls for 288 saw cut access panels in the existing floor slab at each side of each existing pile.
With underpinning brackets mounted to the underside of each existing capsill beam, a 4.5-inch steel piling will be hydraulically jacked to a depth of about 110 feet (into the underlying sand layer) in each access panel. Using all piles, EHM will simultaneously lift and re-level the existing foundation.
Upon completion of the foundation repairs by EHM, the contractor, Aegis Construction Inc., of LaPlace, and the designer, Washer Hill Lipscomb Cabanis Architects of Baton Rouge, can resume architectural repairs.
The turnkey foundation repair is estimated to cost $1.88 million. This does not include architectural pre-lift salvage of masonry, glazing, etc., and post-lift repair costs.
Foundation reconstruction is within the scope of the original contract but will be funded separately from the original contract. The EHM contract will be handled as a sub-contract with Aegis pursuant to a change order. EHM, in turn, will work in collaboration with three additional contractors — Brownie Companies of LA LLC, Magnum Geo Solutions LLC and Magnum Piering LLC.
The St. Mary Parish Tourist Commission will not be a party to the EHM subcontract with Aegis.
A letter of intent approved during the commission’s meeting Thursday confirmed the arrangement pending execution of contracts and confirmation of funding sources at the mediation scheduled today and again Sept. 25, if necessary.