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Architect silent as questions swirl around construction of downtown library

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BATON ROUGE - It has been exactly one month since problems were found in the construction of the River Center Branch Library, but the designer at WHLC Architecture is nowhere to be found. According to a receptionist at the firm, the architect is on vacation.

“The citizens should get a consistent update,” Mayor Sharon Weston Broom said. “The mayor should get a consistent update so that we can keep the community informed.”

Even with light-duty construction continuing, contractor Bouquet and Leblanc said it has no comment on the status of the project.

Hydraulic jacks are currently securing the overhang of the $19 million project after a structural failure in April, but responsibility for that failure has to fall somewhere. The mayor said there may be a reason for their reluctance to come forward with answers to some of the lingering questions.

“Many of the people involved, whether is the architect or the engineers, are very concerned about where they stand in terms of liability, so that could be one of the reasons that they are reluctant,”  Mayor Broome said.

Library board members are waiting on a final report before making any decisions, and according to the mayor, the city deserves transparency.

“This library project was certainly a project that the community bought into and supported, and so, therefore, it's incumbent upon those involved in the development and building of the library to be transparent and accountable,” Mayor Broome said.

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