The state could save more than $283 million by gutting the existing Charity Hospital in New Orleans and building a new hospital inside, rather than starting from scratch at a new site, Foundation for Historical Louisiana officials told the Baton Rouge Press Club today. FHL board member Sandra Stokes, citing a study by architectural firm RMJM Hillier, says the building is structurally sound and can be configured to support a modern hospital, saving 34% on construction costs and requiring the removal of far fewer homes than the plan under consideration. Stokes says FHL has requested meetings with the Jindal administration to discuss their proposal for Charity, to no avail.
FHL also is trying to save LSU’s Huey P. Long Fieldhouse and its famous pool, which is now drained, closed and condemned, and the Lincoln Theater, a civil rights landmark in Old South Baton Rouge. FHL Board of Advisors member Aimee Schmidt says a feasibility study for the fieldhouse will cost about $40,000. The state has appropriated $350,000 to the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame to buy the Lincoln, but FHL Executive Director Carolyn Bennett says they don’t know how much renovations will cost.—David Jacobs