Houston to scale back plans for Perry library renovation

wcrenshaw@macon.comApril 9, 2014 

WARNER ROBINS -- Plans for renovation of the Perry Public Library are being scaled back after the estimated cost came in higher than expected.

Houston County officials met Monday with the builder and architect and were told the project as originally planned would cost about $400,000 more than the $1.8 million the county had allotted for construction.

Mark Baker, the county’s purchasing agent, said the biggest change is that a planned 6,000-square-foot addition is going to have to be cut to 4,500 square feet.

County officials said in December that they hoped to have construction started this spring, but now it looks like it will be the fall. Baker said part of the reason is so the renovation will not interfere with the summer reading program.

The county approved International City Builders as the management-at-risk contractor, and JMA Architecture will design the renovation plans. Under the management-at-risk contract, the builder agreed to manage the construction for a fee of 3.95 percent of a guaranteed maximum price.

It’s done that way, Baker said, precisely for the situation the county now faces. The other alternative would have been to have the architect draw up the full plans, then put it out for bid. If the county then realized the bids were higher than expected, it would either have to come up with the extra $400,000 or restart the process.

“That would have cost a lot more,” Baker said.

Once the renovation starts, the library will operate out of a temporary location, but that location has not been determined. The county bought adjacent property with an old home that will be demolished after no one offered to buy it and move it. Baker said the home does not have historical value because it has been significantly altered.

The Perry project is the last leg in the county’s efforts to update its library system. The county opened a new library in Centerville in 2011 and last year completed renovation of the Nola Brantley Memorial Library in Warner Robins.

The total Perry project, including architect fees and the purchase of adjacent land, is estimated to be $2.4 million. The project is funded by a $1.6 million state grant and $800,000 in special purpose local option sales tax dollars.

The project involves fully gutting the building and redoing the interior, along with a new heating and air system.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9705.

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