Taylor Hall expansion, renovation at LSU behind schedule due to contract dispute

The LSU College of Engineering’s $110 million expansion/renovation of Patrick F. Taylor Hall is running behind schedule, after contract negotiations between the state and the project’s originally selected construction manager—a joint venture of global construction giant Skanska and locally owned MAPP Construction—fell through.

Officials with the Louisiana Division of Administration say they have terminated their contract with Skanska-MAPP, which was selected last year as the construction manager to oversee pre-construction work on the project.

Though there was no guarantee Skanska-MAPP would continue as construction manager during the project’s building phase, a deal to do so had been expected. However, in negotiating the contract over actual construction costs, Skanska-MAPP came back several million dollars over the project’s $88 million budget, state officials say.

“They were coming in around $93 million, and we don’t have the money to go that high,” says Mark Moses, director of facilities planning for the Division of Administration.

MAPP President and CEO Mike Polito declines to comment.

The state last year agreed to put up half the money for the College of Engineering expansion project, which was initially pegged at $100 million and will include a renovation of the 300,000-square-foot Patrick F. Taylor Hall and the addition of about 150,000-square-feet of new space to the building. The other half of the cost has been raised through private donations in what has been billed as one of the largest public-private partnerships in the state and the most successful fundraising effort by LSU. University and state officials held a groundbreaking on the project in November.

State officials are now negotiating with The Lemoine Company, which was the second-lowest bidder on the project last year, to be the new construction manager. Moses says he is optimistic the two sides will reach an agreement and that  groundbreaking can begin in April or May.

Though the construction manager contract squabble has delayed the project slightly, Moses believes the building should still be on track toward its originally planned 2017 opening.

The Lemoine Company has done several major projects at LSU, including the $39 million Business Education Complex. Skanska-MAPP is the construction manager on the state’s new University Medical Center in New Orleans.

—Stephanie Riegel

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