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Portion of Library Dispute Resolved with Mediation, Efforts Ongoing

Tuesday, December, 18, 2018

It took approximately three weeks, but all of the parties involved in the library construction dispute in East Baton Rouge have reached an agreement through mediation.


The resolution comes seven months after the structural failure and stop in construction on the downtown building. Construction stopped in mid-April after construction crews found a faulty weld that had caused a shift in the building’s cantilever.


There is no official resolution concerning the overall project, but there is some consensus on who will pick up the $2 million cost of repairing the damage that occurred as a result of the failure.


The resolution also means construction can begin again on the library.


Following the mediation, the Library Board of Control and the East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney’s Office refused to comment publicly. They confirmed the mediation was ongoing, but could not be public about it because of a non-disclosure agreement.


Spencer Watts, the library board’s executive director, did say that he and other members of the board are “increasingly frustrated” because of how long the project is taking. The library was originally scheduled to open in the fall.


According to Watts, “I think all of us would really like to see this mediation come to a successful conclusion and get the project back on track. That would have been a nice Thanksgiving present.”


The dispute is expected to move to the court system within the next few months if ongoing mediation sessions do not allow for a complete resolution to the issue. Construction would continue during litigation proceedings, but only if the boar pays.