By Associated Press - Thursday, August 28, 2014

GONZALES, La. (AP) - Ascension Parish officials say contractor SBS Construction has started building a nearly $6.5 million government complex in Gonzales. Work is expected to take a year.

Parish officials pitched the new 33,500-square foot, modern-styled building as a long-needed consolidation of the now spread-out parish offices, improving parish worker efficiency and customer service.

The complex is being built on the site of the demolished East Ascension Hospital and will be next to the parish Clerk of Court’s civil building and catty-corner to the Parish Courthouse Annex.

Parish President Tommy Martinez tells The Advocate ( ) that, in addition to bringing together parish workers, the complex would save the parish on rental costs now being paid to house the District Attorney’s Office in Gonzales and to store parish records.

District Attorney Ricky Babin’s employees will leave cramped quarters in Gonzales, which cost the parish $100,000 per year, and move into the existing parish president’s offices in downtown Gonzales.

Martinez said one of the former hospital buildings left standing on the 15-acre site will be used to store records and serve as a parish commissary to hold and better track the distribution of various materials for parish workers.

The project is being paid for with a $5 million surplus the now defunct hospital board had saved along with sales tax collections from a Methanex plant under construction on the Mississippi River that the parish had set aside as an incentive rebate for the Canadian company. The sales taxes set aside became available when Methanex decided it would not seek the rebate and instead went after state incentives.

SBS Construction beat seven other companies with a $6.47 million bid approved in July. The complex had to be bid out twice but still came in over the final budget of $5.8 million due to the costs of steel and the availability of contractors.


Information from: The Advocate,

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