Slidell allocates $13,000 for work on 2 buildings

Woes at courthouse, senior center persist

The Times Picayune
Thursday May 15, 2003
By Paul Bartels
St. Tammany bureau

The Slidell City Council has shifted $13,017 to a new account for some Band-Aid repairs to two outlying city buildings that have had periodic problems almost from the day they opened their doors.

The biggest trouble for the senior citizens center that opened in 1994 on Cousin Street has been with its roof, while the new City Court building that opened in January 1998 at Fourth and Erlanger streets has been plagued by a malfunctioning ventilation system.

The $900,000 senior center was built by Natal Construction Co. and the $1.26 million courthouse complex by Owen Construction Co. Both buildings are having trouble now with water condensation, City Chief of Staff Reinhard Dearing said Tuesday. The buildings were designed by architects who died within 30 days of project acceptance, Dearing said. The contractors built them exactly as called for in plans and specifications and thus have no liability for the current problems, he said.

However, Owen Construction agreed in January 2001 to fix the lingering ventilation system problems at the courthouse. The company insisted it wasn't at fault but was embarrassed by a news story in December about the recurring problem.

In exchange for Owen's agreement at the time, the city dropped its plans to hire another contractor to do the job and bill Owen and consulting engineer Richard C. Lambert for the cost. The work was done, but the problem has returned.

The council Tuesday also reallocated $50,000 from an account for more parking at John Slidell Park in north Slidell to a new one to pay for extensive electrical work and erection at the park of four new scoreboards being donated to the city by Coca-Cola Corp.

Council President Pearl Williams, who lives in Country Club Estates across from the park, was concerned about the decision because she said the heavily used park badly needs more parking spaces.

Parks and Recreation Director Tara Ingram Hunter said the project might not cost the entire $50,000, and Williams said she wanted any balance to be spent on parking.

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Paul Bartels can be reached at or (985) 645-2854.


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