Unfinished business

Anyone who’s interested in building activity at our alma mater (Minden High) should stay away from College Street. A quick drive-by will most likely form some variation of the “What the heck’s goin’ on?” comment at the notice of nothing.

We’d heard through the pipeline that construction on the multi-purpose building at MHS was at a standstill; that nothing has been done to the skeletal site in some time. That’s not quite the whole of it. Looks like a fence has been erected around the project.

We’re not sure of the purpose that little barrier serves. Some believe it’s to keep vandals and curious school board members out. Others say the fence could be intended to catch someone actually working there and to trap and keep them inside. At the current pace, anyone trapped until completion may have entered someone’s son but will come out someone’s grandfather. 

At this week’s parish school board meeting, Superintendent Johnny Rowland said all members had added to their packet another email from the contractor, ELA. Haven’t seen that cyber note, but hints are the Angels reiterated their “request” for an additional nine hundred thousand dollar (plus change). Scuttlebutt said this communication was absent threats, but absence isn’t avoidance and it certainly is not a fonder heart-maker. 

Meanwhile, a building stands unfinished. Students will soon be populating the premises and they’ll have a scenic structural reminder of Murphy’s Law. Right down to the foundation. 

And speaking of Mr. Murphy and his epic epigram, Minden High has long been known as the Home of Champions for its many accomplishments both in classrooms and athletic competition. If looks are not deceiving, MHS can alter that maxim to Home of the Unfinished. Constructionally speaking, of course.

Unless our eyes were missing something, and at our age that is possible, we did not see a set of visitors’ bleachers at the MHS football field. We saw plenty of dirt that indicates someone’s been scratching surface of the east side. We did not see work in progress. Remember, it’s fewer weeks than a hand has fingers before season opens.

We were told by a self-admitted misanthrope that options will be made available if the visitor side remains incomplete by first-game night. One: visitors may rent lawn chairs with proceeds going to fund school construction projects. Two: visitors join MHS fans on the home side. Portable partitions for rent with proceeds…well, you know. 

Third option: rent a space inside unfinished building at top of hill. After all, it is a multi-purpose structure and game gazing is one of multiple purposes. It would be somewhat satisfying to make that a people rather than pigeon habitat. Imagine the once-intended house of worship south of town on Sibley Rd. as a preference reference.

Another thought: Congratulations to the Minden city council for contractually obligating itself to another outside management group. Manchac Consulting Group,  which bills itself as a professional civil/environmental engineering firm, was granted approval allegedly to help with engineering grant funds into city bank accounts.  

We might not see immediate grant results. Those take time. We should, though, watch for any expansion to the scope of work Manchac might seek. We’re told by others who have experience that it’s easier to get the company into your budget than it is to remove them. Termination clause or not. 

Some call this initial deal the “foot in the door” technique. Question is, how big is the foot, and once it’s inside will the body follow? Bigger question: how much is this first step going to cost the payer of taxes and what’s the terms of the completed contract?

While the back-patting begins, city officials might pause to reflect on how successful we’ve been in past contract deals. You know, like that really cool power thingy to which we’re hooked for the next couple of centuries. How’s that workin’?

Final observation: On a very personal note, RIP James Madden. You are going to be missed on this front porch, more than any will realize. 

To our mentor and advisor, but most importantly, our friend, we wish you a wonderful trip home. May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.