Error in planning process for new library benefits city and project fundraisers
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — A mix-up in the design process for the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library ended up working in favor of the city and fundraisers for the project when the common council met Tuesday night to consider bids received for the project. The new library was planned as a 35,000 square foot facility. However, Boson Company Inc., the construction manager for the project, realized that the design firm that prepared renderings of the new library had actually drawn out a 41,000 square foot building.
The city bid out 31 different construction elements of the library project, and the total bid package came in at a cost of about $8.4 million, $1.4 million higher than the original plan, which estimated library construction costs at $7 million.
Initially, city leaders thought that they would either have to kick in more money to bridge the funding gap, scale back the project, or delay it to allow for further fundraising to take place. Now they will work with the design firm Zimmerman Architectural Studios Inc. to get the designs back to reflecting a 35,000 square foot library and will rebid all but two areas of the project.
The city rejected all of the received bids aside from two areas, site work and utilities, which Boson’s director of construction Joe Dolezal said could begin on their normally scheduled timelines and were acceptable bids because they would not be impacted by the resizing of the building plans. When asked if rebidding the project with a 35,000 square foot library rather than a 41,000 square foot facility would save significant money, Dolezal said, “That’s why we are proposing this option.”
Dolezal said the rebidding process would not cause significant delays for the project. Groundbreaking on the new library is still scheduled for July 31, starting site work on the project will be bumped back from Aug. 3 to Aug. 10, and new bids will be due back on Aug. 27, Dolezal said. The completion date for the project is now anticipated to be late August of 2016.
“It’s a two- to three-week different schedule than we had, and with a long schedule like this, we feel real confident that things will go well,” Dolezal said.
City Administrator Steve Barg said he felt confident that moving forward with plans that now match the original intent of a 35,000 square foot library would allow the project to come in much closer to the originally budgeted amount.
“I think even though there may be questions in your mind as to how come the plan that we’ve been looking at in recent months wasn’t the right size building, and I certainly respect that, we’ve now uncovered that. We’ve got a plan to address it, and I have every reason to believe from talking with Boson’s staff today and what (Dolezal) just presented that we’ll be able come right down around that budgeted amount or very close to it in a way that we had always anticipated, which I think is exciting,” Barg said.
Mayor Chris Meyer added, “I know that a lot of us felt a little embarrassed about this looking at this project saying, ‘How could we have missed something as significant as the size of the building?’ The fact of the matter is we haven’t put a shovel in the ground yet, we haven’t laid a brick yet, so it’s better to have caught it now. Whether it was possible three or four months ago or not, we caught it before the construction started because it would be very difficult to redraw the plans after we have a foundation.”
Library Director Lori Belongia said that resizing the plan back to its original size would not compromise the function of the building.
“We can live within that footprint,” Belongia said. She added that she did not believe that there would be any additional charges from Zimmerman Architectural Studios Inc. to redraw the plans.