Phase One Completed, We're ready for Phase Two
Thanks to the great work of our County partners, library staff, architects McMillan Pazdan Smith, J.E. Stewart Builders, and Friends volunteers John Oakland and Bill Reynolds, and despite the surprise outbreak of the Coronavirus, we have finished the work on the first phase of the library renovation and have completed the plans for the second phase.
Our grand front steps opened last May to rave reviews from the public. Local contractor J. E. Stewart Builders did a fine job and came in slightly under budget and would have been on schedule except for the delays caused by COVID 19. The new steps only serve to remind us of how ugly and dangerous the old steps were.
Architectural plans for the interior renovation and new elevator have been completed and are being reviewed by Aiken County. Contractors will be invited to bid August 12-Sept 10, with bids opened mid-September. We will determine when construction can begin based on how the bid prices compare to the project budget. If prices are within the budget, work can begin as soon as Aiken County Council formally approves the contract, as soon as mid-September. If plans have to be scaled back to conform to the budget, it will take longer. Our expectation is work will begin about the first of October.
In the meantime, a furniture selection committee, consisting of Friends member Carroll Mayfield, ABBE Director Mary Jo Dawson, Aiken Library Manager Jessica Christian, and members of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, have been busy selecting new furniture, flooring and finishes.
Our Capital Campaign “A Great Community Deserves a Great Library” had just begun its first phase when COVID struck. Even though pledges for over $100,000 had already been secured, the Campaign and Finance Committees felt it inappropriate to be asking for donations when people were losing jobs, the stock market had crashed, and there was so much uncertainty. Therefore, the campaign was temporarily suspended until circumstances are more normal, hopefully later this fall.
We hope to have a groundbreaking and share the interior plans in mid-September when the winning bidder is announced. Stay tuned for more exciting news!