Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Review of the June 2011 Jacobs Report on the UMC Site

Here's the full document via the state's DOA site.

Wading into the Executive Summary, you'll note the reference to historic structure relocation as one of the UMC (LSU Footprint) site preparation activities, reinforcing the notion that houses will actually move off site.

In terms of funding, the report still only lists $300 million in state funding and $474.8 million in FEMA funding - a total of $774.8 million, not the full $1.2 billion required.  The rest is assigned to "bond sale proceeds."

When it comes to timeline, the report reflects "realities current impacting the program."  That translates to the following revised schedule:  

The following adjustments are based on the completion of real estate transactions on the UMC site in July 
2011: Site Fill start - August 2011; Hospital Substantial Completion – September 02, 2014; Hospital Move in and Activation complete – February 28, 2015

Delays appear to be costing the project, as some funding has been shifted:

$17 million has been moved from the Contingency line item to establish a budget line item for escalation. Further delay will result in additional escalation at the rate of $1.5 million per month. The Utility Building budget has been moved into the AFC at $35 million

And one of the elephants in the room, budget uncertainty for the overall UMC project, is hinted at obliquely:

"Budget refinement is ongoing"

As far as control of site properties go, the state says it has obtained title to all 242 parcels, although 2 offers are still being considered (seemingly for "critical activity" properties "LSU435  LSU-43").  There are also a few specific notes about things that were supposed to happen in July:

The Notice to Proceed for the abatement and demolition of the Pallas Hotel should be issued the week of July 18th
BOH is scheduled to start relocating homes in early July

Issues with differences in the elevation of the VAMC and UMC sites at S. Galvez are also noted:

The City issued road profiles for review by the State in determining the resolution for the elevation difference between the UMC and VAMC sites at Galvez Street. Upon completion of the review follow-up meetings will be scheduled.

What are the overall issues and concerns raised?  These - mostly about delay, funding, and the nettlesome high voltage power line that crosses the site:

● The Master Schedule has been adjusted to reflect the impacts of 
the CM delivery approval, funding requirements, site 
surcharge/wicking requirements, and Clerk’s Office of the Civil 
District Court computer problems. 
● The Financial Feasibility Study is still being developed as part of 
the HUD requirements and is critical to funding the full GMP. 
● Construction price escalation impact to the AFC budget due to 
● Impact of medical equipment and utility building costs on the 
overall program budget.  
● The proposed route for the relocation of the 230kV line was 
walked with Entergy on May 11
. A general agreement was 
reached to locate the poles in the tree line within the public rightof-way. Details are being worked out. 
● A schedule delay exists between Entergy’s proposed duration of 
the installation of the 230kV line and the scheduled completion 
date of March 2012. 
● Ongoing coordination with City of New Orleans and franchise 
managers to identify the existing utilities and determine the route 
for new utilities

The power line issue comes up again and again throughout the report.  Locate it in the treeline?  Along Canal (what other tree-line is left on the UMC site?) - that will look horrible.

On the demolitions front, the number employed by the contractors for the UMC site is quite high:

● Site Demolition: Coordination and oversight of the UMC demolition and site preparation activities. 177 demolitions have been completed and the sites are ready for construction.

Looking at site prep budgets, it looks like nearly 25% of the real estate/demolition budget had not been committed or used as of June 2011.  That left a large sum in place:


And then, there's always this - a sort of summary of the reason the UMC hasn't gone away as an issue.  Namely, it's the continued uncertainty on so many fronts regarding the project:

Site development: The schedule is continuously being updated to identify issues/concerns with regards to the UMC site.

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