High Cost Results In Project Changes

Plans have changed for Phase 1 of the renovation project at the James Prendergast Library.

Last November, Phase 1 renovation plans were announced with the focus on making the library compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. That is still the focus, but the plan also included upgrading a freight elevator to a passenger one and installing two restrooms on the second floor.

However, when the library received bids for Phase 1 of the project, costs were greater than originally projected. Tina Scott, James Prendergast Library director, said Phase 1 of the project had to be revised in order to lower costs. Library officials rebid the project, with costs now more in-line with the grant received for the project from the state.

“Originally we were going to have two restrooms on the second floor and turn a freight elevator into a passenger one. We had to move those off Phase 1 because bids came in high,” she said.

The first phase of a construction project will still create Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restrooms for men and women on the first floor, turn second-floor storage space into a new community room and create a teen space above the front entrance. Without adding on, the project will add more than 1,800 square feet of public space to the library and making it more user-friendly at the same time. Scott said an exact date on when construction will start has not been set.

“The board met (Thursday) and voted on the bids that came in. After the time it takes to do the paperwork, they could probably start around (June) 9th. We’re not positive right now,” she said.

The construction project is scheduled to last about seven months, which means the project could be ongoing into January of next year. Scott said there are no scheduled days the library will be closed during the construction project.

“We don’t plan on closing. There may be, here and there, you know a half-day or something like that,” she said.

Originally there was also a second phase announced for the library renovations. Scott said now there might also be a Phase 3 to the project. The second phase of the project once included renovations to the children’s room entrance, improvements to the first-floor circulation and the creation of a new stair-and-balcony connector for the second-floor space created by the first phase. The second phase will now also included the second-floor restrooms and freight elevator as well. She said before anymore renovation phases, the library will have to apply again this year to the state for a grant for the next step in the project.

“We need to apply this year and won’t know until next spring,” she said.