More Changes for Coliseum Project - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

More Changes for Coliseum Project

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB News Channel 5)- More changes are coming for the plan to restore the Rapides Parish Coliseum. The group that won the police jury's vote has failed to carry out on the original agreement. Today the police jury took action, and they say it's all to follow through on what the people of Rapides Parish voted for. News Channel 5's Rachael Penton has the story.

Barron, Heinberg, and Brocato- the architectural firm hired by the Rapides Parish Police Jury to renovate the coliseum. On Monday- they were fired.

"We was devastated okay because you know once you hire a firm and everything- it's professional firms that we hire through the Police Jury- but at least we had a great backup plan," says police jury president Joe Bishop.

The reason why? The firm is over budget. Last November voters approved a twenty-three million dollar bond issue backed by a 2.5 mil property tax to fund the project, and the police jury says there's not a penny more to spend.

"They was 14 million dollars over so that's where we had to meet with all fellow juror members," adds Bishop.

In their meeting Monday afternoon the jury voted to terminate their contract with B, H, & B immediately and entered a new one with the Alliance Design Group- the original second runner up in the bidding of the project.

"Ours was a process of determining what was needed coming up with cost estimates that it would take to do it and developing a design around those elements and cost figures," says architect William Tudor, of the Alliance Design Group.

The new design will feature a facelift for some of the existing structures, as well as some new additions.

"We are increasing the seating capacity and getting up to the ten thousand seats that we're looking for. We are keeping and building a new ag pavilion as part of the project," adds Tudor.

So why didn't the police jury go with Alliance in the first place?

"There's nine juror members up there and each one of the jurors has a vote concerning what architect firm they wanted to go with and Barron, Heinberg, and Brocato carried the vote so we moved on," says Bishop.

The police jury is confident the project will go forward this second time around.

'The president before me Mr. Ollie Overton assured B, H, and B that we only had 21 million dollars and that's the reason we told Mr. Tudor to go back and look over all his numbers and make sure that he could do this project with the 21 million dollars because we do not want to fall short again," says Bishop.

Forward with a brand new design...

"Our design really gives it a fresh contemporary look that I think is really going to be very exciting," says Tudor.

For a brand new coliseum, for the people of Rapides Parish.

"I think everybody's going to be happy once we have a grand opening," says Bishop.

The police jury estimates that about $628 thousand dollars has been spent on the project so far with B, H, & H and that about 50 thousand of it can be re-utilized with alliance. They plan to take legal action to recover the remaining funds.

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