Library work off the shelf

Long-delayed renovation of branch to proceed

Expected by month's end

Money was available, but county staff was busy


May 03, 2002|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

With county staff available, the long-awaited expansion and renovation of the Eldersburg library branch - Carroll's busiest - is expected to move forward by the end of this month.

The $700,000 project was slated to begin 18 months ago but was delayed because county staff was busy with other construction projects.

"The money's there," said library director Linda Mielke, "but the county didn't have the staff to deal with it."

When completed, the 3,000-square-foot addition will make the Eldersburg facility the largest of the county's five branches, at 25,000 square feet.

The renovations and additions include a centered main entrance, a reconfigured parking lot to provide better traffic flow, a larger children's area and meeting room.

The planned expansion reflects the branch's growth in the county's most-populous area.

Last month, Eldersburg led the five branches with a circulation of 74,721 or 27 percent of the library system's items, including books, videos, compact discs, DVDs, cassettes and magazines. That number rose from 65,000 books and materials during the same time the year before.

The library applied for and received the funding for the Eldersburg project from the county commissioners two years ago. Plans were drawn, but the project stalled.

Thomas J. Rio, chief of Carroll's bureau of building construction, said that the project manager assigned to administer the design and construction on such projects wasn't free to work on the expansion then.

"He's always been there but busy on other assignments. But now we're getting back to Eldersburg," Rio said.

The project is expected to be bid upon by the end of the month.

After a contract is awarded, Rio estimates, it would take two months before the paperwork - bonds, insurance and contracts - is finalized. Rio said he hopes for an end-of-summer start.

Work should be finished by the end of the year, he said.

Last year, an effort was made to begin the project and to include a snack vending area. Those plans fizzled, but vending areas have been created at the Westminster, Taneytown and North Carroll branches.

A snack area with tables and chairs remains under consideration for Eldersburg, officials said.

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