Port hires manager for $9.3M project
Port Executive Director Raymond “Mac” Wade
Port of Morgan City officials approved hiring a project manager to lead them through the process to construct a projected $9.3 million Government Operations and Emergency Center that port officials hope to be able to break ground on by July.
The Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District commission met Monday at the Port of Morgan City. The new center could serve as a command center for the region during emergencies and could also house U.S. Customs, U.S. Coast Guard, port officials, and law enforcement officials.
In January, the port commission approved an agreement to purchase about 4 acres between Victor II Boulevard and David Drive that the port plans to use for the operations and emergency center.
On Monday, the port commission authorized Commission President Jerry Gauthier to sign an agreement with Walter Adams of EnGarde Consulting in Lafayette to provide a management plan for building the new operations center.
Port officials are scheduled to meet with state officials from the Office of Facility, Planning and Control Thursday in Baton Rouge to discuss the $7 million in state capital outlay money the port is trying to get in order to build the operations center, Port Executive Director Raymond “Mac” Wade said. The port is required to put a $2.3 million match to fund the building of the center.
The purpose of Thursday’s meeting in Baton Rouge is to make sure if the port moves forward with design work for the center, any money spent will count as part of the port’s $2.3 million match, Wade said.
Adams will be a consultant for the port, and will work with the project architect and contractor, Wade said. The project manager can give guidance on the design of the center, he said. “We can’t afford to let something slide or anything like that and then have to stop the project,” Wade said.
State Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, and state Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, have pushed to make sure the port gets the funding for the project, the port director said. “This is a huge project, and that’s a lot of money to receive on a grant,” Wade said.
Wade, Port Attorney Gerard Bourgeois and architect Carl Blum have been working on plans for the government operations and emergency center slated to come to Morgan City, Bourgeois said. “We’ve been working with Carl Blum on getting the scope of the project a little closer to what the funds are going to be with the funds that we assume we’re going to have in June or July,” Bourgeois said.
In other business, the commission approved spending up to $120,000 on equipment and software for the port’s Metal Shark vessel, which the port is purchasing with 2010 port security grant money, and the commission authorized Gauthier to sign a contract with American Integrated Contractors for services relating to the project.
The commission approved Wade to sign a letter of no objections for the St. Mary Levee District to do work on the Wax Lake East levees.
The port expanded the agenda and renewed Mike Knobloch’s contract as port special projects coordinator for up to three years.
Mike Lowe of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the corps plans to award a dredging contract May 6 for the Atchafalaya River Crewboat Cut project. This phase of the project is designed to open up the cut in which rocks have already been placed in order to create a self-scouring channel.