06/06/12 — Commissioners clear way for Steele Memorial work to begin

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Commissioners clear way for Steele Memorial work to begin

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 6, 2012 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners Tuesday morning approved a $3.5 million budget amendment that will clear the way for construction of the new Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive to possibly begin this fall.

The project was one of several budget amendment items included in the board's consent agenda.

Construction documents for the project are being finalized and could be ready to let for bid in July. The bids would be out for about 45 days, meaning the contact could be awarded around Oct. 1, Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said.

The project is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete. Some demolition work could be under way this fall, with the major construction starting in the winter and being completed in the spring of 2014, he said.

The project will convert the old Belk department store on West Main Street into the library's new home. Costs are estimated at $2.65 million, with furniture and fixtures adding about $500,000, for a total of $3.1 million. Design fees will account for about $311,000 for a total project cost of $3.4 million.

A grassroots fundraising effort has raised $351,000 to cover the design costs for what will be a regional library serving the southern end of the county. Of that total, only about $55,000 in outstanding pledges remain.

The building's design will be similar in style to much of the architecture in downtown Mount Olive.

Approximately 15,581 square feet of the 23,000-square-foot building will 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.

There are spaces designed for teenagers, young children and school-age children.

A large meeting area will be able to accommodate about 120 people. The room can also be partitioned off to form two smaller meeting rooms.

The design also includes a smaller meeting room that can accommodate about six people. There are two smaller study rooms as well that are designed for individualized tutoring sessions that can be used by two people.