Officials break ground for new Cameron Parish extension office

Bruce Schultz, Richard, Cynthia C.  |  9/26/2009 12:12:12 AM

News Release Distributed 09/25/09

CAMERON, La. – Officials held groundbreaking ceremonies on Sept. 24 for a new LSU AgCenter Cameron Parish extension office, to be rebuilt on the site of the previous facility, which had been destroyed by Hurricane Rita in 2005.

Since the destruction of the original office, which had been a block from the parish courthouse, the extension agents housed there have been located at a temporary office in the northern part of the parish, according to Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor of extension.

The new building, to be called Chenier House, will be elevated and designed to withstand high winds and stormwater. Its design will serve as a model for construction methods and materials to be considered by builders on the Gulf Coast, said Cynthia Richard, LSU AgCenter co-chair for the Hurricane Recovery Task Force and an area extension housing agent.

“This is a demonstration facility for hurricane-resistant construction and energy efficiency,” Richard said. “It will be a model to teach people how to rebuild safer, stronger and smarter. This will be one of the few models of its type in the nation.”

Richard said funding is being provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) and the parish government. Construction bids are to be opened this fall, with work to begin in early 2010.

Paul Rainwater, LRA director, presented $150,000 to the Chenier House project during the groundbreaking ceremony and said Gov. Bobby Jindal supports rebuilding Cameron Parish 100 percent.

Kevin Savoie, LSU AgCenter county agent in Cameron Parish, said the project will be a psychological boost to the local citizens. “This is another step in the recovery process.”

A new fire station has been constructed and a new Cameron Parish School Board office is under way, Savoie said.

“Cameron Parish is building stronger and elevating higher,” said Tina Horn, Cameron Parish government administrator.

LSU AgCenter chancellor Bill Richardson said the AgCenter is committed to Cameron Parish and the rebuilding efforts there.

“We’re proud to be here and part of Cameron Parish,” Richardson said.

Construction methods and materials used at the LSU AgCenter’s LaHouse project in Baton Rouge will be incorporated into Chenier House to increase energy efficiency and to strengthen the structure against storms.

“During construction of Chenier House, tours will be scheduled to allow viewing of the materials and building practices that can be incorporated into newer residences,” Richard said. “We will borrow ideas from LaHouse to make Chenier House a livable, durable and comfortable building that can be used as a pattern for home construction.”

You can learn more about LaHouse at the LSU AgCenter’s Web site, www.lsuagcenter.com. Click on the LaHouse link on the front page.

Bruce Schultz

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