Welcome center completion anticipated by end of March
Construction on the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau Welcome and Interpretative Center is scheduled to be complete by March 31, Cajun Coast Executive Director Carrie Stansbury said.
Construction on the interior of the building is “almost completely done,” Stansbury said Monday. The roof of the building is still being worked on, and officials are still working to make temporary handicap accessible parking available to get an occupancy license in order to be able to open the center, Stansbury said. Some issues with finishing the roof pushed back the construction completion date, she said. “They (construction workers) are very determined to have it fixed by March 31,” Stansbury said.
The permanent parking lot at the center is being paid for by a federal grant, and Stansbury is still waiting to proceed with the grant, she said.
The center is required to have one temporary handicap parking spot before it can open, she said. “We’ll use reclaimed asphalt where the current parking is now, but need handicap accessibility.”
When construction is completed, Cajun Coast will have “a bunch of work to do once we get in,” Stansbury said. That work includes moving files, ordering computers, moving furniture in, and training employees and volunteers.
Stansbury does not yet have a date confirmed for when the center would be able to open to visitors, but will not have to wait on the permanent parking lot before Cajun Coast is able to start moving items into the center, she said.
Stansbury will have a more definitive plan for when the center may be able to open to the public once she talks with the Cajun Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau board at the board meeting Wednesday about how “they want to schedule everything,” she said.
The center was lifted by Expert House Movers in May 2013 back to its original height after it sagged about 4.5 feet on June 14, 2012. Cajun Coast used about $3 million in insurance money plus money it had not yet spent before the building sagged in order to repair and lift the building.
Cajun Coast will add the “interpretative component” to the building, which includes adding panels on the back of the building that have information about the area’s wildlife and interior panels with “everything there is to see and do in St. Mary Parish,” Stansbury said. Cajun Coast will also put brochure racks inside the building. The second floor of the building will consist of office space.