WARNER ROBINS -- Come Tuesday, the Houston County Board of Commissioners is expected to take the final step in the rejuvenation of the library system.
The board is set to approve a contract to renovate the Perry Public Library, expected to cost $2.4 million, with the inclusion of architect fees and the purchase of an adjacent property. The actual construction cost will be about $1.9 million, said Commissioner Larry Thomson, a liaison to the library board.
On Thursday, the library board voted to recommend International City Builders as the management at risk contractor, which means the company will build it at a guaranteed maximum price to be determined. The company recently completed the renovation of the Nola Brantley Memorial Library in Warner Robins under an identical contract.
The county also built a new library in Centerville, so with the completion of Perry library, it will have completely updated all of the libraries in the county.
I think we are going to have the best library system in the state, Thomson said. If its not No. 1, its close to it.
Due to the nature of the contract, construction isnt expected to begin until March or April. The work should be completed by the end of the year.
The contract calls for International City Builders to manage the project for a fee of 3.95 percent of the cost. The lag time for construction to start is for the contractor to work with the architect to determine exactly what will be done and what the maximum price will be.
Thomson said the county does it that way over a straight bid for construction because it allows greater flexibility to make changes that will keep the cost down.
The project will be similar to the Nola Brantley renovation in that the building will be completely gutted, then redone, including a 6,000-square-foot expansion. The building is now 12,000 square feet.
The exterior of the building, which includes three leaky dormers in the front roof, will be preserved.
As was the case with the Nola Brantley project, the Perry library will operate out of another smaller location while the work is being done. The location, however, hasnt been determined.
Judy Golden, the librarys interim director, said the renovation has been long needed. The librarys heating system doesnt work at all, so space heaters are now being used. It was chilly inside Friday, which wasnt a particularly cold day, and Golden said it can get quite cold when the temperatures outside drop further.
I think its going to make all the difference in the world, she said of the project. I hope people will really use it and appreciate what theyve got.
Marcy Maynor, of Elko, was checking out books Friday. She hadnt heard of the renovation project but said she will be glad to see it done.
She home-schools her seven children.
We use the library all the time, she said.
A $1.6 million state grant and another $800,000 in state sales tax revenue are helping fund the work.
To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.