A FRESH NEW LOOK
Wilsonville Public Library received the green light from the City Council Dec. 4 to award a bid for remodeling work, despite the unexpected surprise of all bids coming in significantly higher than earlier project estimates.
Initially the scope of work — including upgrades of the building's 30-year-old heating and cooling systems — was expected to cost close to $1 million, all of which was received from the Clackamas County Library District. Project bids, however, averaged $1.3 million when engineering and permits were included.
Other items in the project list include reconfiguring/remodeling of several spaces within the building, upgrading one set of restrooms to be ADA-compliant, security 'gates' with radio frequency identification and paint, carpet and furniture.
The current library was built in 1988 with 7,500 square feet and tripled to more than 22,000 square feet in 2002. This is the first major upgrade in 15 years.
According to Eric Mende, City capital projects engineering manager, the higher-than-anticipated bids were thought to be largely because of a tight construction market. Seven bids were opened Nov. 16, he said, but several had calculation errors that took them out of the running.
The additional $320,000 — the City had already budgeted $30,000 from its general fund — will come from the City's undesignated contingency fund. Susan Cole, finance director, said that the fund will still have $2 million after the library project, and $7 million more set aside in a contingency fund earmarked for specific uses. The City is mandated to set aside 15 percent of its general fund in contingencies and is well above that, Cole said.
The City Council voted unanimously to authorize staff to issue a "Notice of Intent to Award" to the lowest qualified bidder, 2KG Contractors Inc., and bring a contract to them for final approval Dec. 18. Prior to voting Councilor Charlotte Lehan pointed out that the largest line item in the project is the HVAC system and, as the library serves as the city's primary "cooling center" during life-threatening heat waves, it was important to move forward with the project.
If the contract is approved by the council work will begin in January and be completed by June. The library will remain open during construction but some activities will need to be temporarily relocated to other city buildings.
In terms of what patrons will see with the remodeling, the northwest corner of the building will be expanded to allow for a larger young adult space and the computer area will be relocated from its current spot near the library's entryway.
Book stacks will be seismically anchored and the library's front area, with circulation and reference desks, will be reconfigured.
"I really look forward to creating an area that is about discovery as you walk through the library and enter the space," said Library Director Pat Duke. "In the last 15 years this building hasn't been touched in a meaningful way."
The area under large windows to the back of the library's entry area will be remodeled to include a flexible space with seating that can be opened up as performance space.
"We used to have a knitting club," Duke said. "When I think about that knitting club I think of them sitting back by the windows, knitting and being a part of the library experience. I love that."