Parish Council okays hospital contract

DEIDRE CRUSE, Governmental Reporter

The Iberville Parish Council last week authorized the parish president to contract with a national firm to plan and help develop a new hospital for Iberville Parish.

The hiring of the medical consulting firm Stroudwater Capital is a first step in the development of $20 million-plus facility to be carried out with hurricane recovery funds.

“We will help get the most appropriate health care for the parish,” said John K. Peel, the company's senior vice president, who attended last week's council meeting and spoke to the POST/SOUTH afterwards.

The firm will simultaneously investigate the size hospital needed here to replace the closed River West Medical Center, as well as its location, Peel said.

After the parish''s efforts to acquire the River West facility fell through, the council agreed with Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. to dedicate most of its hurricane recovery funds to building a smaller facility to be operated by a private company.

Thomas C. David Jr. of Pan American Engineers, the parish's lead consultant on the use of $33 million in recovery money, said the Louisiana Recovery Authority must have a feasibility analysis before approving the project.

“Parish President Ourso wants it sooner rather than later,” David said.

“But he wants it to be thorough,” Peel added.

David estimated the study would take three to four months.

Stroudwater, one of seven firms competing for the contract, is a health care advisory firm founded in 1985. It has offices in Maine, Georgia, Texas and Arizona.

In other action, the council also approved architects for two other recovery projects.

Fusion Architects will design a community distribution center for the Town of White Castle, and Grace & Hebert will provide architectural services for the repair of the storm-damaged Iberville Parish American Legion Post No. 167 facility.

The council also authorized Ourso to sign a cooperative endeavor agreement with the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission, which will build a boat landing on the Mississippi River at Plaquemine's Court Street for use by security and law enforcement watercraft. Once built, the Parish Council will be responsible for its maintenance.