Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Library to Break Ground; $3.6 Million Facility Set for Fleming

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Library to Break Ground; $3.6 Million Facility Set for Fleming

Article excerpt

Byline: R. Michael Anderson, Clay County Line staff writer

After years of planning and saving every available dollar that didn't have to be spent to buy new books, construction should begin within two weeks on Clay County's new main library building on Fleming Island.

A $3,618,947 contract was awarded last month to Military Construction Co. of Jacksonville, which submitted the lowest of 10 bids to construct the building. The structure will serve a dual purpose as a branch library and the county's library system headquarters.

Library Director Arnold Weeks said ground will be broken in mid-January on the 5-acre site, which faces Town Center Boulevard about a half-mile south of County Road 220. Completion is scheduled by April 2004.

The contract with Military Construction was approved by the County Commission Dec. 17, following a recommendation by the board's Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee that the lowest bidder get the job.

Other proposals ranged from $3,643,100, submitted by Bob Mathews of Jacksonville, to a $4,584,000 offer from General Mechanical of Daytona Beach. Two Clay County contractors also submitted bids: E. Vaughn Rivers Inc., $3,769,000; and Thomas May Construction, $3,889,500.

Though commissioners said they knew virtually nothing about Military Construction's background, while some of the other bidders and their work on public buildings were well known, the architect for the new library building assured them that the construction would proceed smoothly.

"Libraries, particularly new ones, are not that complicated a structure," said Vasant Bhide, of Bhide & Hall Architects of Orange Park. "They're basically large, open spaces. I really do not see a problem."

County Commission Chairman Larry Lancaster expressed confidence in the ability of the architect and the contractor to jointly produce a building that Clay County taxpayers will be proud to own.

"We've already picked the design for the building," Lancaster said Tuesday. …

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