NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today joined other officials, neighbors and community representatives to break ground on the new $6.7 million headquarters facility for the New Orleans Fire Department along City Park Avenue.
The project represents an important move of the headquarters from the French Quarter to a more centrally located place for easier access for staff, firemen and the general public – next to the Delgado Community College campus and less than a mile from I-610 and Canal Street/Canal Boulevard and the Orleans Parish Communication District headquarters.
“We see the value of our New Orleans Fire Department every day, whether it’s in responding to recent fires in our community or assisting in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A more centrally and strategically located headquarters benefits NOFD and our residents on many levels and brings a dormant property back into service. It’s also another example of how we are spending our FEMA funding, our bonds, our Hazard Mitigation Grant Program dollars, and our Community Development Block Grants,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
“Facing the needs of a modern Fire Department, the NOFD has long outgrown our current historical headquarters location in the French Quarter. Despite remodels over the years, it remains antiquated and limited in its ability to service the public, due to a lack of parking and handicap accessibility, inadequate space for all leadership staff onsite and intermittent traffic issues traveling through the French Quarter due to festivals, events, or just a good Friday happy hour crowd. Engine/Station 29 will remain at 317 Decatur St. while a plan for the future use for the building is determined,” said Roman Nelson, Interim Superintendent, New Orleans Fire Department. “This new NOFD Headquarters at MTA City Park will allow the New Orleans Fire Department to consolidate most of our leadership and support services in one centralized location. It will provide the modern technology, square footage, off-street parking, ease of access and security that the Fire Department needs, and the public deserves.”
“For too long, this prominent building has sat vacant and open to graffiti and vandalism. It’s only fitting the former Municipal Training Academy will transform into a new hub for our brave public safety officers, with accessibility to serve so many District A residents,” said Joe Giarrusso, City Councilmember, District A.
“Capital Projects is honored to participate in this important public safety project. The renovation of the old MTA Delgado building will provide NOFD with a state-of-the-art facility that will provide consolidated administrative and training space. It also brings a previously abandoned building back into operation and enhance the community and the Delgado Campus,” said Vincent A. Smith, Director, Capital Projects Administration.
“FEMA is committed to the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina, supporting our state and local partners with the restoration and rebuilding efforts that enhance our quality of life while protecting our communities,” said Eddie Williams with the FEMA Louisiana Integration and Recovery Office. “The New Orleans Fire Department provides essential life and safety services for residents throughout the city.”
The funding breakdown of the $6.7 million features $4.2 million from FEMA, $1.8 million from bonds, $552,000 from HMGP, and $157,000 from CDBG.
The work begins as Mayor Cantrell also announced the lifting of furlough requirements from New Orleans Police Department, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, the Health Department, and the Fire Department in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project includes renovations to the old MTA Delgado building to house NOFD administrative headquarters, training center and 24-hour NOFD Emergency Response Command Center. It’s also the first of two phases, with the first phase including:
- Interior and exterior demolition
- Repair and replacement of site utility lines
- Selected removal and replacement of existing paving and sidewalks
- Improvements to drainage systems
- Exterior lighting replacement
- Placement of new structural foundations
- And selected removal and maintenance of existing landscaping
Phase II will include renovations to the exterior building and interior renovations. Phase I started in December and should wrap up in May 2021, while Phase II will be a nine-month construction project starting in May with scheduled completion by late January 2022. The project team features architect NANO, LLC, contractor Centric Gulf Coast, Inc. (Phase 1), and CPA Project Manager Jennifer Lilos.
The Fire Administration, Safety/Community Relations, Fire Prevention, Logistics, Compliance (IT) and Operations Deputy Chiefs will be relocated to this new consolidated Fire Headquarters facility, along with other NOFD Divisions currently working from remote locations at four different facilities, including Special Operations (MTA East), Medical (2920 Magazine St.) Supply Shop (821 Magazine St.) and the Supply Annex (4330 St. Claude Ave.). The Supply Shop and Annex will be relocated to the former Fire Communications facility at 701 Rosedale Dr. (one block away).
Additionally, this facility will provide the convenience of an auditorium on-site for training, testing and promotional ceremonies, that can be converted to an operations center during major events or natural disasters.
“The New Orleans Fire Department has a remarkable legacy of professionalism and dedication. This new, nearly $7 million headquarters, provides NOFD a modern facility that serves the needs of our firefighters and their leadership. During my time in city government, I’ve worked closely with the firefighters of our city and they are a nimble, caring and tough group of men and women. And they rapidly respond to every sort of call or crisis that we have in this great city. The infrastructure team in city government recognizes how critical NOFD is to our community’s safety and I particularly thank Vince Smith and his team in Capital Projects Administration, including Project Manager Jenn Lilos, for getting this critical project underway,” said Ramsey Green, Deputy CAO for Infrastructure.
The Cantrell Administration is hitting the ground running in 2021 with infrastructure projects that are continuing to move forward across the city. Between maintenance projects and the Joint Infrastructure Program, the City currently has 62 DPW projects under construction valued at more than $416 million. The City is beginning 2021 with a total of $151 million worth of Joint Infrastructure projects currently out to bid. The City is keeping up the momentum built over the course of the previous two years and in spite of the pandemic.”
Under the Cantrell Administration the City has invested $50.2 million in Capital Improvement Administration projects in District A. The City has six projects that are already completed, scheduled for completion this spring, and into the summer. This means the City is putting its Federal, bond and other funds efficiently and effectively to use as CPA stands up modern buildings to better serve our residents.
Specific District A projects include:
- Cuccia Byrnes Multi-Purpose Building — $1.4 million (complete)
- New Orleans Museum of Art Renovations — $12.6 million (complete)
- Municipal Yacht Harbor Repairs — $26 million (complete this spring 2021)
- Nix Library ADA Improvements — $502,000 (start construction in February 2021)
- W. Carver Playground Improvements — $817,000 (start construction in spring 2021)
- Gernon Brown Play Equipment — $365,000 (start construction in May 2021)
The work on the new headquarters building comes just two months after NOFD learned that, with assistance from the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP), it had earned received a FEMA grant worth $15.9 million. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant provides funding directly to fire departments to assist in increasing the number of firefighters to help communities meet industry minimum standards. The grant will fund 63 full-time firefighter positions for a three-year period. (Learn more here.)
Mayor Cantrell was also joined by former NOFD Supt. Tim McConnell, who was a driving force to help make this project a reality; Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib, Chancellor, Delgado Community College nearby; Tyrell Morris, Director, nearby Orleans Parish Communication District; Kevin Centanni, co-owner, nearby Rosedale Restaurant and Friends of Lafitte Greenway board member.
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