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Costs rise on library construction, council approves $7.5 million building

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The site of the $10 million joint library/museum project has turned into the site of a $7.5 million library building, which is to be fully funded by the municipality.

Plans for a new museum building have yet to come before council but a 5-2 vote on Monday night gave the green light to develop plans for a new library facility.

In the current Five Year Financial Plan (2003-2008), the municipality budgeted $5.28 million for the construction of the library.

Now rising construction costs and a $1.6 million underground parking lot have pushed up the cost of building the library by more than $2.2 million.

Municipal staff will now continue planning for the new library on the site of the current library (Lots 20 and 21).

The $7.5 million library includes $5 million for the library, $294,000 for library retail/coffee shop and $1.6 for an underground parking lot.

"I think it's well past time to get on with it," said a passionate Councillor Gordon McKeever after listening to arguments to delay the decision from Councillors Marianne Wade and Kristi Wells.

McKeever said the money that the community has saved over the years by providing the community with a shoddy library facility, more than makes up for the current cost.

But Wade and Wells expressed concerns about the new plans.

"I want to know how we're going to pay for it and operate it before we make that decision," said Wade after Monday's meeting.

She quizzed RMOW Parks Planner Martin Pardoe on the library budget after he presented the report to council.

Figures in the report point to soft costs of 21 per cent. Those soft costs include consultation fees, legal fees and architect fees. A tally of the soft costs in the proposed budget is more than $1 million, said Wade.

"Twenty-one per cent is too high for soft costs," said Wade, adding that this percentage does not follow industry standards in her experience.

"The highest I've ever seen in the industry is 15 per cent."

Wade also raised concerns about the cost per square foot. With hard building costs totalling more than $4.8 million and total square footage at 14,447 the cost is $337 per square foot. That figure does not factor in the costs of the underground parking.

Wade said high-end concrete construction in the village should cost about $300 per square foot.

Wade wanted to see comparative prices before voting to move ahead with the project.

"I want to know how we're going to pay for it and operate it before we make that decision," said Wade.

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