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

The LSU College of Engineering’s $110 million project to expand and renovate 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 between global construction giant Skanska and locally owned MAPP Construction—fell through.

Officials with the Louisiana Division of Administration confirm 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 construction phase of the project, that was the general assumption when the team was selected by the state. However, in negotiating the contract over actual construction costs, Skanska-MAPP consistently came back several million dollars over the $88 million in hard construction costs the state had budgeted, 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 committed 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 some 150,000-square-feet of new space to the building. The other half of the funds have 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 development with the construction manager has delayed the project slightly, Moses believes the building should still be on track to open in 2017, as originally planned.

The Lemoine Company has done several major projects on the LSU campus, 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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