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A third phase of renovations at the Monroe County Public Library may cost as much as half a million dollars more than first projected.
That’s according to information put forward during a work session for the Library’s Board of Trustees on September 11.
A representative for the project’s architect, Christine Matheu, presented the cost estimates to the Board.
But before the financial discussion, Matheu went over a schematic design of the renovated Library.
“We have met with staff and special interests groups from the project,” Matheu says.
The renovations include the addition of a new teen center, which Matheu said would have a cafe area as well as a space for socializing.
“Current logic on these spaces is that you downplay the books and you up-play technology, social interaction and collaborative and creative work,” Matheu says. “All these things teenagers respond to in the way they learn and it’s a way to get this demographic back into the library.”
The renovated library is also planned to include a digital creativity center, including spaces for recording music and editing film.
“Right now we’ve planned for a recording studio and a performing space,” Matheu says, “This is primarily for musicians and filmmakers, and the media lab is for people collaborating together. “
When the Board approved the architect’s contract earlier this year, the estimated cost of the renovations was $780,000.
But the project designed by Matheu’s firm is estimated to cost somewhere between $1.1 and $1.3 million dollars.
Library Director Sara Laughlin said she likes the plan, and she has ideas about how to trim some of the costs.
But even if the cost is considerably more than was budgeted, Laughlin said there is still money to complete the entire project.
“Even if it’s the high number, we’re still $244,000 off for what we have set aside,” Laughlin says, “We have enough money to do the whole thing and have some left over. I think we should bite the bullet and do it.”
All the costs are rough estimates because the Library has not yet put the project out to bid.
The Board is scheduled to vote on the budget for the project at its regular meeting September 18.