VHA office renovation on hold

Published 12:32 pm Friday, March 21, 2014

Plans for renovating the Vicksburg Housing Authority’s Elizabeth Circle office in Rolling Acres are on hold pending a revision of the architect’s plans for the project.

VHA executive director Ben Washington told the housing authority’s Board of Commissioners Tuesday that the bids for the project exceeded the $70,000 budget for the work.

“The lowest bid we had was $120,000,” he said.

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The board in October hired M3A Architecture of Jackson under a master project agreement to design the renovations and handle future capital projects for the housing authority.

“They put in too much,” Washington said after the meeting, adding the architect’s design for the renovations included reworking the building’s fire sprinkler system and enlarging the heating and air conditioning ducts in the building.

“The sprinkler system change would cost us $10,000, and the duct work’s cost was $8,000,” he said. “They also included some electrical work, which we don’t need. All we wanted to do was replace the carpeting and the Sheet Rock, improve the entrance the foyer in the front of the building, and convert an office we’re not using into a board room.”

He said he was meeting with the architects this week to review the revised plans. “We need to see if we can get that cost down,” he said.

Washington said the architects are also working on two other projects.

One involves renovating an apartment at Waltersville Estates that was damaged in January by a fire that occurred in a second floor bedroom.

An investigation by the Vicksburg Fire Department indicated the cause of the fire was arson, fire investigator Leslie Sanders said, adding no arrests have been made in the blaze.

“A resident driving by the apartment saw the fire and called the fire department,” Washington said, adding the building had been vandalized and its smoke alarms broken. He said the building was vacant at the time of the fire.

Washington said the architects are also preparing plans to replace the second project, an exterior staircase at the VHA’s Valley Street apartments. The concrete stairs, he said, are broken and crumbling and affecting the railing on the stairs.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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