WILMINGTON — New Hanover County is a step closer to getting a new library to replace the current Myrtle Grove facility. County Commissioners yesterday voted to award a $5.5 million contract to Bordeaux Construction Company to build the new branch.
The new library is estimated to cost a total of $6.2 million – a $1.37 million increase from the originally approved $4.8 million budget.
County Commission Chairman Woody White asked what caused the cost to rise almost 25 percent over the past year. County Manager Chris Coudriet said it was because of the increased cost of materials, as well as labor costs. Originally, the county had budgeted approximately $250 per square-foot — that cost has since raised to $283 per square-foot.
“At the time it was estimated at $250 a square foot, what you are looking at is market change in the economy,” Coudriet said.
The new library will also be almost 3,500 square-feet larger than what was originally planned, Coudreit said, which will cost the county an additional $454,000. He said that adding the additional square footage is a better value for the county, and more accommodating for the needs of the community.
Library Director Harry Tuchmayer said the new library will be serving more residents in a five-mile radius than the other libraries in the county, and he recommends the 20,000 square-foot building.
The new library has been in the works since September of 2016 when the county began working with Vines Architecture to design the building.
The new library has since been fully designed and construction plans are complete.
In September 2017, three contractors submitted bids. Bordeaux had the lowest, but it was still more than the anticipated budget of $4.8 million.
The new library will be known as the Pine Valley Branch Library and will be located at 3802 South College Road, about two miles north of the current Myrtle Grove Library.
Construction for the new library is scheduled to begin this December and according to county documents, “substantial completion will be achieved by December of 2018.”
Victor Vines, president of Vines Architecture said he expects the Pine Valley Branch Library to open in January of 2019.
Jeff Schroeder from Vines Architecture offered commissioners highlights for the new library, a library which he says will serve the full community.
There will be several distinct areas within the nearly 20,000-square-foot library, including a children’s area that will provide a place for activities completely separate from the adult section, Schroeder said. There will also be a teen section.
The fate of the Myrtle Grove Library is still not known, but county leaders have plans to sell the property.
“The expectation is that the site with the Myrtle Grove Library would be sold and those funds would help to offset the cost of the Pine Valley Library. The Myrtle Grove branch will continue to operate while the Pine Valley branch is constructed,” County Communications Coordinator Jessica Loeper said.
Michael Praats can be reached at Michael.email@example.com