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FEMA Section 106 Notices for Louisiana
"Public Notice Regarding Section 106 and NEPA Review of the Proposal to Construct Flood-Proofing Measures at the Administration Building, Southern University of New Orleans, 6400 Press Drive, New Orleans, LA - Seeking Public Comment "
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FEMA Department of Homeland Security Seal

Public Notice Regarding Section 106 and NEPA Review of the Proposal to Construct Flood-Proofing Measures at the Administration Building, Southern University of New Orleans, 6400 Press Drive, New Orleans, LA - Seeking Public Comment


The high winds and heavy rains of Hurricanes Katrina and the subsequent widespread flooding damaged many buildings in Orleans Parish, LA. In the aftermath of the hurricane, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is issuing this public notice as part of its responsibilities under the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's (ACHP) regulations, 36 CFR Part 800, implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA). FEMA has also decided to utilize the NHPA Section 106 review process to coordinate its responsibilities, including public outreach, required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This notice applies to activities carried out by the Public Assistance (PA) program implemented under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C.5152-5206.

Location of Southern University of New Orleans Administration Building - 6400 Press Drive, New Orleans
Location of Southern University of New Orleans Administration Building
6400 Press Drive, New Orleans
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SUNO Administration Building West Elevation
SUNO Administration Building West Elevation.
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Area of Potential Effects Map.  The Standing Structures APE is in yellow and the Archaeological APE is in red.
Area of Potential Effects Map.
The Standing Structures APE is in yellow and
the Archaeological APE is in red.
click image to enlarge
 
Southern University of Louisiana (SUNO) proposes to use FEMA funds to flood-proof the SUNO Administration Building. The scope of work calls for the construction of a new reinforced concrete floodwall around the perimeter of the building with flood gates at all openings. The floodwall will be constructed of sub-grade, helical piles, with a moisture barrier between the building and floodwall, a reinforced concrete footing and wall, and a brick veneer exterior. It will be approximately 5'4" above finished first floor elevation. The floodwall will function as the building's 1st floor perimeter wall, except where it extends out and around the high voltage transformer yard on the south end of the building. Each entrance to the SUNO Administration Building and its associated equipment yard will have floodgates and awnings to control future flooding. The existing windows will be altered by removing the lowest lites, to accommodate the higher sill necessitated by the height of the new floodwall.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 44 CFR Part 10: It is the intent of NEPA that federal agencies encourage and facilitate public involvement to the extent practicable in decisions that may affect the quality of the environment. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the CEQ established Alternative Arrangements to meet the requirements of NEPA in reconstructing critical infrastructure in the New Orleans Metropolitan Area (NOMA); Alternative Arrangements, Federal Register/Vol. 71, No. 56/Thursday, March 23, 2006. Alternative Arrangements enable FEMA, as a component of DHS, to consider the potential for significant impacts to the human environment from its approval to fund critical physical infrastructure in NOMA. More information on NEPA and the Alternative Arrangements process can be found on FEMA's web page at: www.fema.gov/plan/ehp/noma.

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 36 CFR Part 800: The regulations at 36 CFR Part 800 require FEMA, as the funding agency, to identify if the proposed flood-proofing measures will affect properties that are listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (historic property); to assess the effects the proposed demolition will have on historic properties; and to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects.

The SUNO Administration Building is a three-story concrete and brick structure constructed in 1959 and designed in the International Style by Andry & Feitel and Carl L. Olschner. It was the first structure completed on the SUNO campus. Among its prominent features are the two-story clay tile sun screens on its front and rear facades and panels of gray granite that run the length of the base of the ground floor and continue into the interior of the main lobby. FEMA, in consultation with SHPO, has determined that the SUNO Administration Building is a historic property under Criterion A at the state and local levels as the physical embodiment of the founding years of SUNO. Its period of significance is 1959-63.

FEMA and SHPO determined that there are no other historic properties within the Area of Potential Effect (including archaeological deposits, the SUNO New Science Classroom building (1972), the SUNO W. Brown Hall (Old Science Building of 1961), the SUNO L. Washington Memorial Library (1963), and the SUNO Multi-Purpose Building (1994).

FEMA has determined that the new flood-proofing project will adversely affect the SUNO Administration Building because it will alter character defining features and the proposed work will be permanent and irreversible. The changes to the exterior appearance of the building will have a significant effect upon the integrity of the building's design, as the careful balance between horizontal and vertical elements of the original design will be altered. As a result of this project, the windows will appear to be deeply recessed, which was clearly not the original design intent. In addition, the floodwall and its associated flood gates will create a barrier that compromises the open and welcoming character of the building's ground floor.

FEMA will resolve the adverse effect and fulfill its responsibilities under Section 106 of the NHPA through the development and implementation of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The MOA will document FEMA's review of ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the adverse effects of the proposed Undertaking. FEMA is seeking input from members of the public on ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the potential Adverse Effects.

Any member of the public is encouraged to provide views on this project to FEMA. FEMA will accept and consider public comments on NEPA related issues as a part of the Section 106 review. Comments can be submitted to FEMA for a 15-day period beginning on July 25, 2012 by posting online at: http://www.crt.state.la.us/culturalassets/fema106/ (this web site); sending an email to FEMA-NOMA@dhs.gov; or sending a letter through the mail to:

FEMA Mail Center
Historic Preservation
1 Seine Court, 1st Floor Mail Room
New Orleans, LA 70114

If mailed, comments and requests must be postmarked by August 8, 2012.