PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

May 14, 2013

PA pavilion construction nearing, but with added cost

PORT ARTHUR — Improvements to Port Arthur’s downtown pavilion are a step closer to completion, but at least one City Councilman is reluctant to  pay the added funding to finish the job.

District 3 Councilman Morris Albright III balked at the city ponying-up another $35,126 to cover the cost of additional steel beams needed for construction.

Albright said the oversight was discovered by N&T Construction, the fabricating company hired to renovate the pavilion.

When N&T personnel studied the project drawings for bidding purposes, they discovered steel beams were missing, John Comeaux, assistant city manager, said.

The oversight occurred after garage-type doors initially planned for the facility were deleted in an effort to whittle down the original $900,000 bid.

In the process, too many steel beams were deleted, Comeaux said.

This is not the first time the city is left with a bill from a professional services company’s error.

Albright said a similar situation occurred about six months ago at the Sabine Pass fire station.

Albright asked the city attorney to review the professional services contract to see if there is a liability clause that would allow the city to recoup the money.

In the meantime, City Council agreed to fund the project in its entirety in an effort to speed the long-awaited construction phase.

The project has been on the city’s drawing boards for going on three years.

Originally, the $900,000 project was to be partially funded with $390,000 in Economic Development Corporation dollars, but did not meet the criteria for the group’s allowable expenditures.

Now, the city is bearing all of the expense — about $488,000 including the most recent expenditure for the added steel beams.

The renovation has been significantly scaled back from original plans to feature three marquees and roll up doors, a performance stage, vented louvers, exterior neon and LED lighting and a retro facade.

According to Comeaux, the redesign includes a new stage plus a cosmetic facelift to the facade.

By approving the oversight expenditure, construction on the long-awaited project should begin in a couple of weeks, Comeaux said.

“People use the pavilion all year round now. The quicker we start on it, the quicker we will finish,” Comeaux said.

The renovation is part of the city’s efforts to revitalize its downtown area.

E-mail: skoonce@panews.com

Twitter: @SKooncePANews

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