Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

September 2, 2008

Check it out: Finance committee approves library bid

Project could begin within weeks

By Gary Nelson / gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com

Construction on the new Art Circle Public Library is expected to begin within the next few weeks.

Thursday the Cumberland County Finance Committee approved a low bid of $5,175,000 for the project. Two alternates for case work inside the library in the amount of $84,327 and for sidewalks in the amount of $19,442 were also approved for a grand total of $5,278,769.

The low bid was submitted by the Hickory Construction of Alcoa, TN and the company speculates it will complete the project in 35 weeks, barring any complications. All of the other companies speculated a minimum of 50 weeks for the project. The bid also came in considerably less than the $6.6 million that was allotted for the project.

The motion to accept the bid was made by Wendell Houston and supported by 2nd District Commissioner Rob Harrison. At least nine construction companies submitted bids for the project.

"Is this company just bigger? Is that how they are going to get the project done that much quicker?" 7th District Commissioner Kenny Carey asked.

"No. They are going to fast track it. They plan to hit the ground running. Personally I don't think it's something they can do in that amount of time. It could go longer than that, but there is no penalty if they do. There are no liquidated damages available for the county if they don't finish it in that amount of time ... I met with the company, though, and they are confident they can complete it in that amount of time," said county building projects managerer Eric Newman.

Cumberland County Mayor Brock Hill said the architect on the project, David Collins of the Knoxville firm Holsaple, McCarty and Holsaple, expected the project to take one year to complete.

"Well, if they get it done sooner than that I'm sure it won't bother the library folks to move in over there sooner," Carey said.

James Houston, deputy director of the Art Circle Library, said, "We're very excited about the project."

The committee also approved an expenditure for the Friends of the Library in order to release the funds raised through various fundraisers over the past several years. Last year the Friends of the Library were encouraged by the state of Tennessee to place their holdings, $60,000, with the county.

The balance is currently in excess of $65,000. The Friends of the Library have decided to have a carousel built for the Children's Story Time area in the new library. The carousel and animal figures will cost roughly $64,800 and will be crafted by artist Keith Tucker of the Nashville area. Also included in the project will be six murals in the area.

The carousel and mural project will be funded by the Friends of the Library with their fundraising proceeds.

Aarona VanWinkle made a motion for the expenditure and Carey supported it. The motion was unanimously approved.

The new library's location takes one block of Division St. near Webb Ave. and part of the site where the old Turner, Day, Woolworth handle mill sits. It also will require the use of the old railroad right of way for parking that runs next to the handle mill.

Being directly behind the courthouse, the location of the new library allows for a governmental center including the courthouse square and buildings around it to make up a campus of county offices.

The new facility will consist of a two-story building with an attached single story meeting facility. The meeting area can be closed off from the library for after-hour use for meetings or public events. The meeting room will seat around 200 people.

The library will be approximately 30,000 square feet and will offer the same amenities as the current library, but will be expanded, updated and include new services and computer areas as well.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility will be held in the near future and will be announced in a future edition of the Crossville Chronicle.