Trustees Hold Work Session on Library Proposal
- The Goods
- Published on Tuesday, 08 March 2016 15:01
- Joanne Wallenstein
Mayor Jon Mark called a meeting with the Village Board of Trustees, Village staff and the Board of the Scarsdale Library to review new information on the proposed library project and answer some open questions. The entire project, including the construction and maintenance of a temporary library during the two-year construction period is priced at $19.5 million, with $7.5 to come from private donations and the balance from a Village bond.
Board President Terri Simon offered some new information at the opening of the meeting.
First, to those who were concerned that the debt payments on the library would add to an increased load on taxpayers from debt payments for school projects, Simon said that the school district will only take on new debt when old debt is retired.
Simon said that the Library Board met with the Advisory Council on Seniors to see how the new library could meet their needs. She reported that the new facility could accommodate seniors' programming needs.
The library's building committee is looking for ways to economize on the design plan and also investigating whether they can raise more than $7.5 million to fund the project. They are looking into potential grants and state aid for libraries.
Mayor Mark then said, "It is about the money. It's a wonderful project – but unless there is sufficient support, it won't go the way we wish it to go."
The discussion turned to the environmental review. Village Planner Elizabeth Marrinan said that she did not anticipate problems with wetlands or parking and thought that all issues could be handled through the environmental review by the Planning Board. There are current 107 parking spots and only 70 are required. The current parking lot could possibly be re-configured.
The Village's Director of Capitol Projects, Paul Zaicek, reviewed the architect's contract and also discussed the current building conditions. The Village had asked him to review the architect's fees and Zaicek said that the $1.1 million contract could go as high as $1.4 million if plans changed or the timeframe was extended. He also indicated that site evaluation and planning would be billed as an extra cost, the environmental review and parking study could cost $20-$30,000 and commissioning could cost $45,000.
Zaicek said that the current building estimates assume that the building's structure and systems are sound. However, if inspections show otherwise, Zaicek estimates that the construction cost could go up another 8-10% above the $14 million budget. The village has already begun a structural analysis of the building and subsurface testing in advance of new construction.
For now, the plan is to renovate the building at Supply Field to use as a temporary library during the construction. The Village has retained an architect at a cost of $9,500 to make plans for installing heating, cooling, bathrooms and outfitting the 3,100 square foot space for usage as a library. The budget for the renovation of the Supply Field building is $750,000.
Assistant Village Manager Ingrid Richards reported on an analysis of potential spaces for the temporary library. In addition to Supply Field, they evaluated the Weinberg Nature Center on Mamaroneck Road and the former site of Body Fit on Scarsdale Avenue. They determined that the Weinberg Nature Center is too small, dark and remote. If used, the wildlife would need to be moved and all nature center activities would have to be suspended for two years. Body Fit has enough space but only 11 parking spots. The rent is $12,000 a month plus $2,500 a month for maintenance. The cost of renovations would be the responsibility of the Village – and once the space was no longer needed the Village would not benefit from the work done at the building.
Supply Field is already owned by the Village so there is no rent to pay – and after the library is completed, the renovated building could be used for another purpose. In addition, there are 39 parking spots at Supply Field and the temporary library could work their schedule around the game schedule.
Last, the trustees asked Library Director Beth Bermel for information on demolishing the existing library and constructing a new building rather than renovating the existing structure. She said that the architects estimate that it would cost 20% - 40% more.
Architect thinks that constructing an entirely new building would be 20-40% more than the renovation, due to demolition and site costs. Bermel also said that she did not think that there would be significantly higher maintenance costs for the new building and that there should be savings on energy costs from the new windows and lighting. During construction she expects that personnel costs will go down as she is not replacing a few retirees and staff hours will be reduced.
Though many in the audience appeared to have come to the meeting with the intention of speaking, the meeting ended promptly without opportunity for public comment. The mayor said that when more information becomes available, he will schedule a subsequent meeting.