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Central Library project on schedule

ALBANY — The construction superintendent overseeing work on the Dougherty County Public Library System’s downtown Central Library branch said Tuesday afternoon the project is on schedule and should be completed by its January target date.

PDC Construction Inc. Superintendent Rick Coleman said sheetrock should be finished on the fourth floor of the library by next week, framing is almost complete on the third floor and work has begun on the second floor of the facility, which is undergoing a $4.3 million special-purpose local-option sales tax-funded renovation.

“We’re taking it one floor at a time; starting at the top and working our way down,” Coleman, who has worked with Bainbridge-based PDC for the past two years, said. “We’ve really started making progress the past couple of weeks. Things are running on schedule so far.”

Voters allocated $5.2 million for the project in a 1 percent SPLOST referendum, but the Dougehrty Library Board, not satisfied with the outcome of the initial bid on the project, rebid it and ended up saving almost a million dollars.

“Some people were impatient, but we felt we would serve the community better by taking our time and doing this the right way,” Library Board Chairman Walter Kelley said. “We ended up saving a considerable amount of money.”

The Library Board decided at a special called meeting Monday to accept project architect Hecht Burdeshaw’s fee proposal to serve as administrator of furniture, fixture and equipment acquisition and installation at the library for additional fees of $65,000 for acquisition and installation and $32,500 for management. The board approved using the state contract on a 6-1 vote with board member and County Commissioner John Hayes opposed.

“Hecht Burdeshaw will not only install the furniture when it is delivered, they will inspect it to make sure there are no problems,” Kelley said. “The other option was for (library officials) to do it, and that’s not something I’m comfortable with.

“We talked with (county officials) about having them oversee the process and do the installation, but they told us they were too swamped to do it. This was, the board thought, the next-best option.”

Kelley also said the board had received 12 applications for the vacant director’s position, three of which did not meet minimum qualifications. He said two of the remaining nine decided to take their names out of consideration.

“Of the seven candidates left, our Search Committe will look over their qualifications and narrow the list to three or four,” Kelley said. “Then the entire board will take a look at the finalists.”

Kelley said he expects the Search Committee, chaired by James Hill, to meet “in a couple of weeks.”