[StBernard] Chalmette hospital construction slated to begin in December

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Mon Nov 15 19:47:17 EST 2010

Chalmette hospital construction slated to begin in December

by Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Posted on November 15, 2010 at 7:27 AM
Updated today at 7:33 AM

CHALMETTE -- In St. Bernard Parish, Election Day 2010 became a do-or-die
situation for the proposed hospital in Chalmette, according to parish
councilman Wayne Landry.

Ultimately, St. Bernard voters approved an 8-mill property tax that will
direct $16 million toward covering three years of startup costs.

Landry, who also serves as chair of the Hospital Services District, said
without that approval, the project would've been shelved.

"They recognize the critical importance of this project for the future of
St. Bernard and not only that, they had confidence in us as leaders on the
hospital board, that they knew we needed the money, and they knew we would
handle it appropriately," Landry said.

Now, Landry says wheels on the project are turning more quickly. Six months
of site preparation work has already been completed.

Last week, Citadel Builders of Metairie won the construction bid -- and,
pending state approval of the $33 million contract -- Landry estimates
construction could begin in December.

"They will get a notice to proceed. Then they have 15 months from that point
to be totally finished," Landry said.

Plans for the 113,000 square foot facility include 40 beds, an ICU unit,
labs and a 24-hour emergency room.

St. Bernard residents we talked with today are hopeful the hospital will
kick the parish's recovery into a new gear.

"The parish needs to get back on its feet and health care is a pivotal part
of that," said resident Mark Vizzini.

"It's gonna start bringing more people back into the parish, because we
really need the care. We really need the medical care," said resident Edward

And officials like Landry expect the impact for St. Bernard to stretch well
beyond health care.

"I mean you're looking at possibly injecting into the local economy of St.
Bernard Parish in excess of $1.5 million a month, in terms of payroll not
only inside the hospital, but in support jobs in small businesses around
this community," Landry said. "I doubt in my lifetime, I will see another
project that can come to St. Bernard and have that type of economic
development impact."

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