NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently announced a $7.7 million recovery grant to the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office, essentially approving their request to utilize federal dollars for the construction of a new four-story, comprehensive administration building.
"This grant supports the sheriff's alternate project request, enabling his office to combine funding previously provided for five of their damaged facilities and destroyed contents from other facilities into an all-inclusive administration facility," said FEMA's Louisiana Recovery Office Deputy Director of Programs Andre Cadogan. "Additionally, this new facility will be part of the larger Orleans Parish Prison system recovery project currently underway."
Hurricane Katrina damaged the local jail system, commonly known as the Templeman facilities, as well as devastated an original 1960's building -- called the "fisk building" or men's work release building. The new post-Katrina administrative building consolidates various pre-storm facilities into one, including staff housing, a studio, internal affairs and bail bonds information office.
Per FEMA's recent approval, funds from these damaged facilities and contents will be applied to the construction of the new 70,217 square foot administration building, which will be attached and share common walls with a larger consolidation project currently under review by FEMA.
The larger consolidation project proposes a new 370,000 square foot facility for inmate housing (Templeman 3 and 4) and an intake processing center. The new facility's design includes enough beds for 1,438 inmates, which is the same bed count capabilities that existed pre-Katrina.
"FEMA's recovery grant allows the Sheriff's Office to construct the secure facility that our city so desperately needs," said Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman. "The new facility will be technologically advanced to provide for the safety of the deputies, community and inmates. It was designed by national experts in the field, who considered every aspect of preferred jail design relative to safety of inmates, visitors and deputies, including the highest standards set by the American Correctional Association. Additionally, it allows this office to move the city closer to the increased safety our citizens deserve."
To date, FEMA has obligated approximately $223 million in Public Assistance funding to the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff's Office for work necessary to restore their various facilities damaged during hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
When FEMA approves projects through its supplemental Public Assistance grant, the funds are made available to the Governor's Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, who disburses them to the applicant for eligible work completed.
The Public Assistance program works with state and local officials to fund recovery measures and the rebuilding of government and certain private nonprofit organizations' buildings, as well as roads, bridges and water and sewer plants. In order for the process to be successful, federal, state and local partners coordinate to draw up project plans, fund these projects and oversee their completion.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.