Work on port administrative offices to begin

One of the lingering high-profile reminders of Hurricane Katrina’s wrath will be disappearing over the next several months as work begins soon on the port division administrative offices at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.

The City Council on Tuesday approved a $904,000 contract with the construction firm DNP to restore the three-story building, whose skeletal remains stand on Beach Boulevard south of the Biloxi Town Green.

The federally funded project is expected to be completed in 10 months.

The interior of the new building will be reconfigured as a result of flood regulations.

Restrooms and showers for transient boat owners that had once been on the ground floor of the building will be moved to the second floor to satisfy federal flood regulations, and an auditorium that had once consumed much of the second and third floors will be transformed into office space. Design work was done by architect Walter “Buzzy” Bolton, who designed the original building.

“Once the work is complete, the outside will look as good as it did before the hurricane,” Mayor A.J. Holloway said, “but the inside of the second and third floors will be re-configured because of the new regulations.”

The fact that the storm-ravaged building – on U.S. 90 and southeast of the Town Green – has stood for four years as a glaring reminder of the storm is not lost on Holloway.

“A number of people probably wonder why it still looks the way it does,” the mayor admitted, “but the fact is, we’ve been wrangling over this issue about the showers and restrooms for some time. We’d wanted to keep them on the ground floor. The federal folks were not going to compromise on that. We fought the law and the law won, as usual. We’ll have a fine building in the end.”

News and notes

Lighthouse progress: Construction workers, delayed for two days by intermittent showers and gusty winds, were able to install a tarp around scaffolding at the Biloxi Lighthouse today. The tarp will allow workers to safely sandblast and paint the lighthouse. To see the images from this morning and afternoon, click here.

Back-to-school luau: The Parks and Recreation Department will host its annual Back-to-School Luau Party on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Biloxi Natatorium. To print a flier about the event,
click here.