I-TEAM: Training facility passed prior inspections before collapse
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A new training facility for athletes being built along Burbank Drive in Baton Rouge is now on hold after a portion of the building came crashing down Friday, February 24, 2023.
Drone video of the 15-acre site for Elite Training Academy shows the extensive damage to the facility. It is being built in a flood zone along Bayou Fountain with developers agreeing to add in a detention pond on the property.
The WAFB I-TEAM is working to find out how the collapse happened but at this point, it’s too early to determine an exact cause.
Jacque Lasseigne is a professional engineer who is not tied to this particular build, but he says it is too early to nail down an exact cause until investigator have all the evidence.
“Fortunately, it’s very uncommon. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does,” said Lasseigne. “Absolutely. This is way too early in the game to make that kind of determination. As some of those third parties start to investigate the possible cause, they may uncover things that are not readily available today.”
WAFB requested records of the inspections done by the city-parish for this project. The records show two inspections of the concrete slab were done by the city-parish inspector. One was in December and the other was last month. Both times, the inspector gave the green light for construction to continue.
Lasseigne says even with passed inspections, there are a number of things that can go wrong when dealing with construction, but he stopped short of saying what it might be, in case lawyers get involved.
“There may or may not be litigation here and typically in those situations it’s not a good idea to speculate or to draw any conclusions,” Lasseigne said.
The facility was supposed to open by this summer but that may not be in jeopardy. WAFB has learned the city-parish issued a stop work order for the construction on the day of the collapse.
TBT Contractors is the general contractor for the project, and they will now be required to get an independent structural engineer to come in to investigate what happened and determine if any of what’s already been built can be carried over to the final project.
“It depends on the nature of the collapse and lot of times there may be damage in places that are not visible at this time. That’s why the professionals of record will go conduct their thorough investigations and they will make that determination based on what they see,” Lasseigne said.
There is no timeline on when crews will finish their investigation, but they should give final reports to the city-parish once they are done.
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