County officials are moving forward with plans for a new library in southern New Hanover County.
County commissioners agreed Monday to award a $5.5 million construction contract for the Pine Valley Branch of the New Hanover County Public Library to Bordeaux Construction Company Inc., the firm that had the lowest base bid.
The 19,541-square-foot Pine Valley Branch, to be built at 3802 S. College Road, will replace the current 6,900-square-foot Myrtle Grove Branch at 5155 S. College Road, a property that could be sold to offset the cost of the new building. The building designer is Vines Architecture.
Crews could start on the Pine Valley Branch as early as the last weekend of this month, said New Hanover County Public Library director Harry Tuchmayer. The goal would be to open the new facility sometime in January 2019, he said.
The $5.3 million base bid (an amount that doesn’t include additions) from Bordeaux Construction came in over the anticipated budget for the Pine Valley Branch, which was just under $4.9 million, county officials said in agenda documents, “so the design team was asked to work with the contractor to identify areas that could be done differently to save money while maintaining the sustainability and longevity expected of this type of public facility.”
It’s another example of how much the price of construction has gone up
in recent years, officials said in agenda documents. In August, city of Wilmington officials announced that the cost
of the public-private partnership development replacing the Water Street parking deck had increased by nearly $8 million.
As a result of rising costs, the estimated cost of the library project has gone from the currently approved $4.9 million to an estimate of nearly $6.3 million.
“Since the time the original budget estimates were prepared in 2016 for inclusion in the 2017 capital improvement plan, material costs and labor costs have seen a significant increase over the past several years, greater than historically seen in prior years,” the agenda documents state. “Cost per square foot for construction of this facility has increased from an estimated $251 in 2016 to the bid cost per square foot [of] $283.”
The required a budget amendment in the amount of nearly $1.4 million, to be funded through current appropriations, the reallocation of $468,444 in savings from various sources and about $900,000 from an increase in loan proceeds, the documents state.
"I think it's going to be wonderful. It will be a very unique project," said Ben Warren, vice president of operations for Bordeaux Construction Company Inc.
Bordeaux Construction built the Story Park at the main branch of the library in downtown Wilmington. The company also started about two months ago on the replacement of Blair Elementary School at 6510 Market St., a New Hanover County Schools project that is expected to be finished in February 2019, Warren said. The Story Park and Blair Elementary are among many public jobs Bordeaux Construction
has done in the county during the past several years.
"We've really enjoyed all the projects that we've been able to work with New Hanover County on, and we expect this [the Pine Valley Branch library] will be successful," Warren said.
Tuchmayer said library employees get questions about the Pine Valley Branch on a daily basis. The size of the new facility is expected to work well for a branch library in a rapidly growing part of the county, he said.
“You can get a sizable collection, meetings and conference rooms for the community and study spaces, an adequate children's story space – things like that can usually be easily accommodated in a 20,000-square-foot facility,” Tuchmayer said.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners vote on the library Monday.