Friday, January 10, 2020
St. John the Baptist Parish - Parish President Natalie Robottom, her Administrative staff, Council Member-Elect Tonia Schnyder , Sheriff Mike Tregre were joined by Casey Tingle and Tiffany Doucet with the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), Tommy Brown with Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects, Michael Rahm, Senior Project Manager, Hunter Prejean with Onshore Construction Company, LLC as well as fire, public safety and grants team to cut the ribbon on the new Safe Room. Scott Reddoch and Randy Smith with Royal Engineers and Consultants, LLC also attended the ceremony and worked closely with staff on funding the project through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
Constructed by Onshore Construction Company, LLC, the $1,404,506.00, 4,000 square foot facility will serve as a secure location to house employees and critical staff, emergency responders and other agencies during disasters. Adjacent to the existing emergency operations center, it was constructed to provide protection against wind forces and the impact of windborne debris, flooding and loss of power. It can sleep more than 100 people.
“During Hurricane Isaac, employees, volunteers and emergency responders from the local, state and federal government were forced to work in close quarters for a long period of time. as there was no place they could be safely housed . Some people slept in their cars, while others were in their offices, the offices of other entitites not present during the response, and field staff were in water plants and trailers. Although we made the best of it, those conditions were not sustainable for long-term response and recovery,” said Parish President Robottom. “Having appropriate facilities in a region that is susceptible to weather emergencies is essential to saving lives and properly managing emergency events.” She added, “I’m pleased the project is finally finished, but am even more pleased we did not need it this year.”
The exterior of the building is funded by $1,107,000 in HMGP funds, which includes a 25% match from various parish funding sources. The match and interior of the building are funded through the 2015 bond issue and various parish budgets including 911 communications and the Office of Fire Services.
The Parish Grants Department and CAO, Sizeler Architects, GOHSEP, FEMA and Royal Engineers and Consultants, LLC worked extensively over the last several years to obtain funding for the design and contruction of this project.
“On behalf of the Governor’s Office, we are pleased to see this project is complete, said Tingle.” Following disasters, opportunities usually present themselves as in this instance where the local and state officials completed this project to ensure those working the incidents are protected during the next one.”