08/17/12 — Discovery of asbestos slows library

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Discovery of asbestos slows library

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 17, 2012 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The discovery of asbestos in the old Belk department store building has temporarily delayed progress on a new regional library that would be built there to serve all of southern Wayne County.

A $3.5 million budget amendment was approved by Wayne County commissioners in June with an eye toward bidding the project in July. The county also is wrapping up work on the project bid documents.

"I feel like it will be September before we go to the commissioners (to let bids)," County Manager Lee Smith said. "As for asbestos -- (the cleanup cost) was around $32,400. It was not a surprise. Most buildings built in that time period have some form of asbestos, floor tile or insulation."

Once bids are let, it is expected to be about a 45-day process, meaning the contract could be awarded in October or possibly November.

Converting the old Belk building on West Main Street into the library's new home is anticipated to take about 18 months.

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.

Approximately 15,581 square feet of the 23,000-square-foot building will be used for library services, and that will include 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, which can accommodate about six people. There are two smaller study rooms as well that are designed for tutoring.