County to review contract for Mount Olive library
By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 10, 2011 1:50 AM
Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning will consider awarding a $311,000 contract to a Raleigh architectural firm for design work for the new Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive.
RATIO Architects, Inc. was recommended for the contract by the Steele Memorial Library Steering Committee, which conducted a grassroots fundraising campaign to pay for the project's design phase. The committee has raised more than $317,000 of its $350,000 goal.
In their proposal, RATIO officials estimated it will cost $2.65 million to renovate the former Belk's building at 119 West Main St. into a regional library to serve all of southern Wayne County. It will cost another $500,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment.
The design will utilize the building program developed by library consultant Phillip Barton in March 2010.
Tuesday's session will begin with an 8 a.m. agenda briefing followed by the formal meeting at 9 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the courthouse annex.
The timetable proposed by RATIO would have the project going out to bid between March 11 and April 10, 2012, and the contract being awarded by May 10, 2012. Construction would start May 14 and would take a year to complete. The library would move into the renovated building in June 2013.
The county purchased the Belk building and a parking lot located diagonally across West Main Street for $400,000 from Mount Olive College.
Approximately 15,581 square feet of the 23,000-square-foot building would be used for library services. It is expected to have shelving capacity for more than 67,000 items including 20,000 children's books and audiovisual items, 40,000 adult and teen books and 7,000 audiovisual items.
The library would have separate areas for small children and teens, and an exterior courtyard where patrons could sit and read or take advantage of a wireless Internet connection. The outdoor courtyard probably would be located on the large sidewalk area in front of the new library and access would be through the library only.
Public meeting space would be available after hours. There would be several smaller study spaces and public computer areas.
Also, the technical services department now located at the Ash Street branch will move to Steele Memorial Library. The department is responsible for preparing books for circulation and getting them on the shelves as well as maintaining the system's database of materials.
"We are hoping that will give us more space for a teen area (at the Ash Street branch) that we desperately need," said Jane Rustin, Wayne County Library director. "It is going to be big. We are excited and are looking forward to this project."
Ms. Rustin said the steering committee had interviewed architectural firms interested in the project and was "very happy" with the choice of RATIO.
She also said the building program done by Barton will help the project move faster because the county already knows how it wants to utilize the building's space.
In other business Tuesday:
* Julie Thompson and Geoff Hulse with the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. will discuss ongoing projects.
* Franklin Baking Co. has offered to purchase surplus property at 701 N. Virginia St. Since the property is jointly owned by the city and county, permission, must be obtained from the commissioners before the property can be sold. City officials have asked commissioners to schedule a public hearing on the issue.
* Betsy Rosemann, director of Goldsboro Wayne County Travel and Tourism, and Kyle Pritchard with Comfort Suites will discuss this year's travel and tourism activities.