Jan. 19, 2009 10:49

When the Acadiana Center for the Arts opened the second round of bidding last week for phase two of the complex, a theatre, the new low bidder was the old low bidder, The Lemoine Company. A low base bid of $10.96 million beat not only other applicants but also Lemoine’s own previous bid of $11.199 million by nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Apparently. Until the validity of the bid is verified by the state, all the players in the process — the Acadiana Arts Council, Lafayette Consolidated Government, Architects Southwest and Lemoine will hold their collective breaths.

Last round, while Lemoine’s low bid seemed to win the project, a mistake by LCG’s purchasing department in advertising the bidding process caused the bid to be rejected. Company owner Lenny Lemoine was dejected. “We really wanted to do the project, it’s a high profile project. It’s a project that’s the culmination of a lot of effort by two great architectural firms. You want to build a building that has influence on a lot of future generations. But the odds of being low again, historically, are minimal.”

Evidently Lemoine’s pencil was sharpened to a fine point in rebidding because all of the alternative additions to the theatre, upgrade options for acoustics, architectural elements and finishes, totaling $11.638 million, will still fall within the state’s funding cap. “We’ll have sufficient funds to do all the alternatives,” says Wayne Domingue, project manager for Architects Southwest. The silver lining for delaying the start of construction came in the economic crisis that's rocking the country. Steel and concrete cost less than they did two months ago, allowing a lower bid, saving nearly a quarter of million dollars on the project.

“We’re ecstatic,” says ACA Executive Director Gerd Wuestemann. But he is tempering his excitement this time around. “While Lemoine is the apparent low bidder, we have to wait for the state to be sure everything is in compliance this time.”

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