- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

GONZALES, La. (AP) - Construction of the $6.47 million future Ascension Parish governmental complex in Gonzales is nearly 40 percent complete. Contractors have been working on the 33,500-square-foot, contemporary-style structure, at the former site of the East Ascension Hospital, since Aug. 7, 2014.

The Advocate (https://bit.ly/1CWqZ0f) reports that a $5 million surplus had been set aside from the hospital demolition to help fund the new building’s costs, but construction still came in well over $5 million because of materials and labor costs. An additional budget of $400,000 has been set aside for the complex’s furniture and cubicles.

Parish President Tommy Martinez says the complex will allow for several government operations to be housed in one building. Martinez also says construction of the building comes at a time of growth for the parish as seen with other government operation expansions.

According to Ken Dawson, chief administrative officer for parish government, rain delays and early foundation issues have shifted the project completion date back.

“We’re looking at a final date for completion in early October,” Dawson said.

Dawson said he hopes contractors will be able to catch up on time lost once the building is more fully enclosed and work starts on conduit and electrical and data lines.

“So rain should not delay that at all,” he said.

Even though contractors drained the old hospital pond early on during construction, the East Ascension High School’s annual pond jump will still take place. Near the end of each school year, the school’s seniors have a tradition on jumping into the pond.

“I understood early on that nothing was going to prevent the pond jump from happening,” Dawson said.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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