Port Allen ponders future of old city hall

Written by Emily Bell on . Posted in Local

Port Allen’s old city hall located at 710 N. Jefferson Ave. is still pending an environmental evaluation, but an early analysis of the building shows uneven flooring, shingle damage and water damage presenting problems for the building’s possible repair.

Under former Interim Mayor Lynn Robertson, the Port Allen City Council approved $5,000 plus reimbursable expenses to hire Justin Altazan of Baton Rouge, La.-based Third Coast Architecture to evaluate the aging and deteriorating structure.

Port Allen Chief Administrative Officer Adrian Genre said the old city hall was built in 1953. The council room and some administrative offices were added in 1976. It underwent renovations again in 1993 and 1998.

He said the multiple additions to the structure have created uneven flooring. The roof was reportedly never repaired after Hurricane Gustav, during which it sustained shingle damage.

“Water’s been allowed to flow freely into the building since then,” Genre said.

In a recent summary to the city council, Altazan also reports the possibility of mold and asbestos.

“High levels of moisture intrusion into the building could lead to optimal conditions for mold growth, structural framing decay, and termites,” Altazan said. “The age of construction indicates the likelihood of asbestos-containing materials in some of the construction materials installed in this building.”

“It’s in bad shape,” Genre said.

“Right now it’s a building that’s just falling apart,” CFO Audrey McCain said, and she said the city continues to pay money to insure it.

Genre said following the environmental evaluation, Altazan should be able to provide the city council with a rough estimate of potential costs of renovating the building.

“It’s going to be significant, it’s going to be a really big number,” Genre said.

The city left the structure for the current city hall in 2007, he said.

At the Wednesday, May 14 city council meeting, McCain and Mayor Richard Lee will also introduce the 2014-2015 city budgets. McCain said the budget will be available for public inspection at city hall the very next day. It is slated for a vote of the city council at the June regular city council meeting.

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