May 3, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 18

Library committee to recommend low bidder

The Library Building Committee plans to recommend low bidder ASRC McGraw Constructors for construction of the new library to the City Council on Monday.

Of the five construction bids received, ASRC McGraw came well under the $4.5 million estimated budget and will also allow for additional features such as higher quality finishes to the building, a paved parking lot as well as sidewalks and gutters.

The single story, 9,770 square-foot building was designed by MRV Architects in Juneau. The building will include a glass, soundproof children's room, with expanded media collections and a story time area. Another room, separated from the main area by a glass partition, will be a place for teens to hangout with friends and study.

“I think those acoustic separations will be a selling point for teens and families to use the library,” said Librarian Tara Alcock.

The new library, which will be built on the corner of First Street and Haugen Drive will also feature a small and a large meeting room. “The meeting rooms will hopefully free up Council Chambers a bit,” Alcock said.

The new location will feature a local history room and expanded space for local art displays. The furnishings will offer easy to browse book stacks and quiet spaces for reading.

According to Alcock the library's book collection will expand and older books will be replaced. With grant funds, the library will expand its bank of Kindle Fire e-Readers.

The new library will be funded by a variety of sources in addition to the $1.5 million General Obligation Bond. The project has also received $200,000 from the USDA, $500,000 from the Rasmuson Foundation, $3.7 million from the State of Alaska and more than $338,000 in private donations.

“Our library, if you compare it to other libraries in this state, in small communities, is vastly under-sized. It's known in the state as the smallest library for a community of our size,” Alcock said. “We've been here since 1959 and since the 70s, usage has increased by about a thousand percent,” she added.

Petersburg is one of the highest per-capita in community use of a library as well, Alcock said.

A groundbreaking ceremony is tentatively set for June 2. Construction should take about a year, Alcock said.

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