By Kris Leonhardt
COLBY — During the April 4 Colby City Council meeting, the total budget for the new library project as well as a recommendation of awarding the project to S.D. Ellenbecker, an Athens contractor, were approved.
The bidding process for the improved facilities of the Colby Public Library (CPL) opened on March 16 through Cedar Corporation out of Menomonie.
The CPL presently resides in the remodeled portion of the Colby City Hall that once served as the city’s fire station. The 2,400-square-foot portion of the 64-year-old building has become insufficient for the library’s needs.
Colby Library Director Vicky Calmes said that an increase in offerings, as well as inadequate facilities, prompted the search for a new structure.
“The Colby library is part of the Wisconsin Valley Library Service consortium, and we also are a part of the Clark County libraries, and right now our circulations in Colby are at 26 percent of all circulations in Clark County,” explained Calmes. “So that kind of brought forward the need for more space.”
The new library will be built on a five-acre parcel of land on the west side of Colby on County Road N. The building that currently resides on that land once served as the Colby Lower Elementary school and, later, the Colby School District offices.
Rita Liddell, Cedar Corporation project architect, said that the company received six bids from area general contractors.
“We feel that we took advantage of a very good, a very tight bidding period,” said Liddell. “For the bidding project, we had several alternates in our bidding process, and we decided to take most of the alternates.
“With that selection, we have come up with a project construction cost of $1,792,886. That’s for construction, and then our total project budget includes a construction contingency, communications cabling, state review fees, some soft costs to incorporate moving and furniture for the library, soil borings, asbestos investigation, and, of course, we have our grant administration fees and the income survey and fundraising mailing and publishing.
“So it brings us to a total project budget of $2.2 million.”
Of the six returned bids, S.D. Ellenbecker submitted a low base bid of $1,714,000, which was then recommended to the Colby City Council.
In a 5-1 vote with two absent, the budget and project bid were approved by the council.
A groundbreaking is being planned for May with anticipated completion of the project in November 2017.