By Kim West
A community project that has been several years in the making could be complete by July 1, as the $2.7 million Phase I of the new Athens-Limestone Public Library draws to a close and construction officials prepare bid packages for the interior phase.
“Phase I is pretty much finished and we’re getting set to bid Phase II,” Project Manager Kerrick Whisenant said Tuesday. “We’ll start advertising next week and we’ll advertise for three weeks, with Phase II including asphalt for the parking lot.”
The deadline for the interior bid packages is Jan. 30, with plans to begin Phase II work in February.
“Once we get the bids, it usually takes about a month to get all the contracts in place and approved by the city and county,” he said. “The timing of when we start Phase II just depends on where the bids come in, but we should be finished with the new library by July 1.”
Whisenant said weather delays and foundational issues caused some challenges during Phase I, which started in June and is finishing on schedule this month.
“We had some hiccups and unforeseen circumstances in the first phase but we are still finishing on time and within budget,” he said. “We had unusual weather for Alabama this summer and fall, and it got cooler more quickly with very wet weather.
“We found some foundations that were not properly (structured), and got that fixed. There won’t be issues with the interior phase because there’s no other demolition to be done and everything that needs to be uncovered has been taken care of.”
Fundraising consultant Debbie Joyner said the Library Foundation continues to raise money for furnishings and a conference wing for the 38,427-square-foot library on South Jefferson Street in Athens.
Joyner said the foundation raised $80,000 in December, including $8,700 from the second annual Holiday Party, more than $13,000 from the Athena League and $25,000 from the local legislative delegation.
”We have collected an additional $80,000 in new funds during December, and we are optimistic that total will be over $100,000 by year’s end,” she said.