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Engineers highlight areas of downtown library to investigate for structural issues

2 years 1 month 4 weeks ago Tuesday, June 12 2018 Jun 12, 2018 June 12, 2018 11:10 AM June 12, 2018 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – Engineers outlined a handful of connections they plan to analyze in the ongoing inspection of possible design failures at the new downtown library under construction in Baton Rouge.

A structural engineer has identified nearly twenty connections related to the building’s construction that need to be reviewed. Doing so requires materials – walls and other items – to be removed or exposed for examination.

     > Click HERE to see the rendering of areas to be inspected.

Contractor Buquet and Leblanc blamed the building design, not workmanship, for the failure. The building was designed by Baton Rouge-based WHLC Architecture who has ignored repeated requests for information from WBRZ. 

Repeated requests by WBRZ to view building plans of the plagued downtown library have been steamrolled by city-parish bureaucrats until Tuesday when the original plans of the building were made available.

Since news broke of what has been described as “ruptures” of key supports of a cantilevered section of the building, WBRZ has been investigating the design of the building and correspondence between designers and officials. Reports have troubled library executives at times who emailed each other amid frustration that the news was able to report more information than what was being made available to the library board.

Earlier this month, WBRZ.com reported permanent repair instructions are being reviewed, designers said in a short message with the city. The repair will focus on structural steel frames. Jacks are securing the building as experts weigh the plans to make solid repairs. 

The library construction project has been contentious from the beginning. City leaders, library executives and taxpayers have argued against each other over the plan for the project – budgeted at about $19 million. Before the snafu this month, Buquet & Leblanc estimated it could build the library for about $14.5 million - $500,000 under what its next closest competitor bid. Contractors warned the perceived structural issues will likely cause cost overruns.

The Metro Council is set to discuss the library issue at its meeting Wednesday.

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Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz

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