Welcome center deemed substantially complete
The Cajun Coast Welcome and Interpretative Center building in Morgan City.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)
About 23 months after the Cajun Coast Welcome and Interpretative Center building collapsed during construction, the St. Mary Parish Tourist Commission authorized signing off on substantial completion of the welcome center Thursday.
At a special meeting Thursday held at the new welcome center, the commission authorized Commission Chairwoman Kim Walden to sign the substantial completion certificate of the building construction.
On June 14, 2012, the center sagged about 4.5 feet about a month before its scheduled completion date.
The joint cooperative agreement consisting of the St. Mary Parish Tourist Commission, Expert House Movers and Phoenix Cajun Coast Corporation states that the full contract for EHM to lift and reconstruct the center was about $3.36 million. Phoenix Cajun Coast was the entity set up by the tourist commission to carry out administrative duties during repair of the welcome center.
The St. Mary Parish Tourist Commission approved accepting the report to close out Phase 2 of the reconstruction of the center. The tourist commission approved of relieving Phoenix Cajun Coast from further administrative responsibility for construction of the center.
Lorrie Braus was hired in January 2013 to manage Phoenix Cajun Coast.
Cajun Coast attorney Gary McGoffin of Durio, McGoffin, Stagg & Ackermann law firm said he was proud that the building was able to be finished in less than two years.
McGoffin was hired by Cajun Coast after the building collapsed. Phase 1 of the project consisted of raising the building back to its original height while Phase 2 was the actual completion of the building, McGoffin said.
The commission also authorized a final payment by the commission of $7,287 to Phoenix Cajun Coast and authorized final payment to Expert House Movers for $53,815 for Phase 2 of the project.
The board moved to confirm that the payment of $22,486 for lights and poles at the center be resolved in accordance with the Joint Cooperative Agreement.
Cajun Coast Executive Director Carrie Stansbury said Cajun Coast still has to hire travel counselors and get the brochure racks in place before the center can open. Stansbury plans to hire at least two full-time travel counselors and maybe two part-time counselors. However, Stansbury and other Cajun Coast employees began working out of the new center last week, she said.
The center will open before the permanent parking lot is finished, and temporary parking access is already complete, Stansbury said. Stansbury expects the center to be able to open to the public sometime in June, she said.
Cajun Coast is also waiting for fire marshal approval on the building, she said.
“We’re real excited, and of course, it so beautiful all around. Everybody’s just so excited about being in here,” Stansbury said. “We’re eager for the public to come in and see it.”