04/03/11 — Officials to examine list of architects for library

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Officials to examine list of architects for library

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 3, 2011 1:50 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The Steele Memorial Library Steering Committee this week is expected to begin interviewing architects who are interested in designing the town's new library.

Committee members will sort through architects' proposals Friday, narrowing the field to an interview list. Interviews will be April 13 at the town's old train depot.

The library project is expected to cost between $3.5 million and $4 million. Whomever is selected will create the design that will transform the former Belk's department store building on West Main Street into a regional library to serve all of southern Wayne County.

The county purchased the 23,000-square-foot building and parking lot located diagonally across West Main Street for $400,000 from Mount Olive College.

County commissioners had authorized proceeding with a request for qualifications for design only after the committee had reached $300,000 of its $350,000 fundraising goal. The $350,000 represents 10 percent of the project cost and would be used to employ the architect and for the design work.

In a response to a request for qualifications, an architect or engineering firm interested in the project submits its qualifications for the library design.

Chairman Lynn Williams said she did not know when a decision would be made.

"Once we identify the architect the design process would probably take six to eight months and construction would take 12 to 18 months," she said. "So we would have a design by the fall."

Slightly more than $315,000 of the $350,000 goal and donations are still welcomed, Mrs. Williams said.

"We are within $35,000 of reaching our goal, which is just amazing, and people are still bringing us money," she said.