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Downers Grove

Construction bids for Downers Grove Library renovations come in over budget

DOWNERS GROVE – The Downers Grove Public Library is looking for ways to reduce project costs after the low construction bid for a $2.4 million renovation plan came in over budget.

The library board met Wednesday to review reports from their construction management firm, architects and staff and to discuss ways to keep the project under budget, according to library spokesperson Melissa Doornbos.

Library officials say the interior renovation will modernize the 14-year-old library and attract younger patrons.

At Wednesday's meeting, the board learned the low bids received from contractors on Nov. 22 had come in $433,000 above the project’s $1,975,000 construction budget. The entire project budget is $2.4 million, including design and other costs.

The management firm Shales McNutt Construction and the designers Product Architecture + Design updated the board on work they had done since the bid-opening to reduce the cost of the project without compromising the needed improvements, according to Doornbos.

They recommended changes to the project including construction of a smaller number of group study and conference rooms than originally planned, a redesign of some features of the children’s area, postponement of some furniture purchases, and re-purposing of existing study spaces, training rooms, and offices. 

They also recommended less expensive restroom finishes, interior glass, flooring materials, and adjustments to the building’s mechanical systems. All together, the proposed changes would save about $360,000.

The board did not take any formal action at the meeting, Doornbos said. It directed library staff to conduct a thorough review of the reductions to make sure that the renovation project’s major goals will still be met, and requested staff work to identify at least $70,000 in additional cost reductions.

The board hopes the additional reductions can be identified before its Dec. 18 meeting, so that construction can begin as planned in early 2014.

The library will remain open during construction, which is scheduled to begin Feb. 1.

The renovation will create several new small-group meeting and study spaces, a new teen center and a revamped café. The new interior will also have a new space for science, technology, engineering and math.

A refreshed story-hour room will also improve the children’s services area. Plans also call for renovated restrooms, new carpet, paint, lighting and furnishings in other areas, among other improvements.

Work is expected to be complete in October 2014. The board allocated funds for the renovation from accumulated reserves and current revenues.

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